The Russian official said the delay was of a technical nature and had nothing to do with U.S. pressure on Russia to ditch the Bushehr project. “It won’t be launched till 2006. Unfortunately the launch is again facing delays, and the delays are for objective reasons,” said the Russian Atomic Energy Agency official. “There are certain technicalities remaining to be settled.” Russians have to fit its technology into original German equipment produced by Siemens. The construction site was abandoned for 20 years after the German specialists had gone leaving 35,000 pieces of equipment behind, only 5,000 of them can be used today. The reactor unit in Bushehr is 75% ready now, while the construction itself is 93% completed,
said the Russian official, RIA Novosti reported.
In August, Asadollah Sabouri, a senior Iranian nuclear official, said the plant would not start working until October 2006 but Russia’s atomic authority then swiftly rebuffed the statement, saying the plant would go on stream in 2005 as previously planned. Russia has been building the plant in southern Iran since the early 1990s despite strong criticism from Washington which says Tehran can use Russian know-how to make atomic arms, Gazeta.ru reported.