Russia awaits Iran advice on start date for nuclear power plant launch

10:59, July 22, 2011      

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Russia was awaiting Iran's decision on a launch date for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.

The spokesman said Bushehr would start operating "in the nearest future", but the exact date of the launch was still unclear.

"Moscow wants to receive a more specific request from the Iranian colleagues on when it will be convenient for them to start the project," the Interfax news agency quoted the diplomat as saying.

According to the Russian FM, preparations for the launch have progressed according to plan, with no breakdowns.

The ministry told reporters last month Bushehr would become operational in early August.

In May, the first nuclear chain reaction at the plant was started.

Construction began on the Bushehr plant in 1975 by several German companies. However, work halted when the United States imposed an embargo on hi-tech supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution. Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.

Completion of the plant's construction has been postponed several times due to technical and financial challenges and pressure from the United States.

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