Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Russia says new nuclear security rules will not affect Bushehr

MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian parliament's ratification on Wednesday of an amendment to a major international treaty on nuclear security will not affect the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, a senior diplomat said.

Russia is building the $1 billion Bushehr facility, Iran's first nuclear power plant, in the south of the country in accordance with a 1995 contract. The project is also subject to UN supervision as Iran is under international scrutiny over its compliance with its nuclear non-proliferation commitments.

"Our project in Bushehr will meet all nuclear security standards, just like [nuclear facilities] do in Russia," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said at a parliamentary hearing.

Russia signed the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material in 1980.

The treaty obliges each signatory to take appropriate steps to ensure that nuclear material is protected whether on a country's territory, on board a ship or aircraft under its jurisdiction, or being transported internationally.

States parties to the convention gathered in July 2005 to amend the document and strengthen its provisions.

The amended Convention makes it legally binding for states to protect nuclear facilities and material in civilian use, storage and transport.

It also provides for expanded cooperation between countries regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, to mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and to prevent and combat related offences.

The lower house of the Russian parliament ratified the amended document, which will take effect once it has been ratified by two-thirds of the signatories.

Russia earlier said start up tests involving nuclear fuel at Bushehr would begin this fall.

Russia delivered its eighth and final nuclear fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28, supplying a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water reactor.

Kislyak said Russia would not transfer to Tehran the technologies used to build and operate the plant, and the spent fuel from the Bushehr reactor will be brought back to Russia.

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