Source Pravda.Ru

Russia, Iran to consider nuclear waste return

Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, and the Iranian Ambassador to Moscow, Gholam Reza Shafei, will discuss the possibility of signing a nuclear waste storage agreement as they will meet in Moscow Monday, a source in the Iranian Embassy has told RIA Novosti.

The meeting's agenda will be dominated by Rumyantsev's visit to Iran in October or November this year and prospects for signing an agreement on storage in Russia of nuclear waste from the Bushehr plant, built in association with Russian specialists.

The sides are now considering the commercial side of the prospective agreement, expected to be signed during Rumyantsev's meeting this fall with Gholam Reza Agazade, Vice President in charge of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, the embassy source reports.

Earlier, Rumyantsev told RIA that the agreement was ready for signing and only technical appendices remained to be finalized. Specifically, the sides are yet to agree on the price to be paid by Iran for storage of its nuclear waste, the official said. According to him, the price will be set within the range of $600 to $1,500 per kilogram. Other outstanding issues include the transportation of waste to storage sites, he added.

In reply to a RIA correspondent's question as to whether the forthcoming talks will touch upon Russia's possible involvement in the construction of a second unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Rumyantsev said that the matter was currently being considered at the expert level.

"Of course, Russia has all the necessary potential to undertake yet another construction project in Iran, but this issue will have to be discussed at the top intergovernmental level," he said.

Germany's Siemens started the construction of a second Bushehr reactor a long time ago, but was unable to complete it owing to political upheavals in Iran.

Feasibility studies will now have to be carried out to see if Russia should follow through on Siemens' project or rather start from scratch on a different site, Rumyantsev said. This will be a long process, he added.

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