September 19, 2008

Iran Nuclear Expert Views Russian Firm’s Estimate on Bushehr Plant Completion

Text of report under "Selected News" headlined "Meaning of concept 'irreversible' in context of start of Bushehr plant's operation" published by Iranian newspaper Iran website on 15 September

Commenting on the Bushehr nuclear plant nearing the "point of no return" [marhaleh-ye gheyr-e qabel bazgasht], the former deputy of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization has said: When the works pertaining to placing the equipment in their intended location, as well as their adjustment and set-up are completed, and when the plant's required fuel is placed in the reactor, then we can say that we have almost reached a stage from where making a return is going to be difficult. Speaking to ISNA [Iranian Students News Agency], Dr Ahmad Qarib went on to say: The return becomes impossible when the reactor is tested with actual fuel, the first nuclear fusion takes place and the reactor operates, even if for only a few hours. Once these happen, then it is not going to be easy to return everything back to their previous state. Qarib emphasized: After fuel is placed in the reactor, the activities of the plant will come close to the status of "irreversibility" [original: bazgasht napaziri].

Furthermore, Mohammad Sadeq Ayatollahi, the former representative of Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency, also commented on the announcement by the Russian contractors about the Bushehr nuclear power station reaching the "point of no return" sometime between December 2008 and February 2009. Explaining this specific phase of the operation of the Bushehr plant, Ayatollahi said: What can be predicted is that the power station will be placed at a stage in which certain tests are carried out, and if they encounter any problems, it will be possible to address and resolve them there and then.

He went on to say: If that statement [by the Russian contractors] was referring to the generation of electricity for integration into the national power grid, the fact of the matter is that the complete process of electricity's full integration into the network could take about one year, and this is not consistent with the timeframe that the Russian contractors have mentioned. Therefore, clearly the Russian company was not referring to power generation.

During his recent inspection of the Bushehr nuclear power station, the director of the Russian AtomStroi Export Company said: In the time period between December 2008 and February 2009, the AtomStroi Export Company will carry out some technical work in the Bushehr nuclear plants, and the completion of this work will take us close to the point of no return in terms of the operation of the Bushehr plant in the future.

Originally published by Iran website, Tehran, in Persian 15 Sep 08.

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