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Sun 9 Sep 2007 01:20 PM

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Iran's first nuclear plant 'on schedule'

Talks still underway as completion of delayed Russian-built Bushehr project now set for fall 2008.

Progress at Iran's first nuclear power plant - being built by Russia - is on schedule, according to an Iranian government spokesperson.

Negotiations are underway between Iranian and Russian officials to complete the delayed Bushehr project in southern Iran, which was due to be completed this month, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported yesterday.

Construction of Bushehr was halted earlier this year over Russia's claims that Iran was not paying its bills for the project.

Discussions about completion of the project are now going ahead and are ‘on a good track', IRNA quoted government spokesperson Gholam Hossein Elham as saying.

"There are some problems which should be removed through negotiations," Elham added.

However Russia said Friday that the $1 billion Bushehr nuclear power plant will be commissioned no earlier than the fall of 2008 if no interruptions occurred, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

A Russian nuclear agency spokesman said there is no strict deadline for talks on commissioning the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

The project schedule has not been conclusively coordinated and talks are set to continue until all the problems were resolved, Sergei Novikov, press secretary of Russia's Federal Agency for Nuclear Power was quoted by Novosti.

"Part of the equipment intended for the Bushehr construction has not been delivered, and final assembly of the [nuclear power plant], according to most optimistic forecasts, will be completed no earlier than the fall of 2008," the source said.

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