World News

Iran gets fifth batch of nuclear fuel from Russia

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran received a fifth batch of nuclear fuel from Russia on Tuesday for Tehran’s first atomic power plant and it expects three more before the total consignment is complete, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said.

Russia delivered the first batch of uranium fuel rods to Iran on December 17 and urged the Islamic Republic to scrap its own program for making fuel.

Iran, which has now received about 55 tonnes out of a expected total of 82 tonnes, says it wants the capability to make its own fuel so that it will have secure supplies in the future.

“The fifth shipment of fuel for the Bushehr power plant arrived in Iran this morning,” IRNA said, adding it was delivered to the plant site. It said the three remaining shipments would arrive under a “specific timetable”.

Western powers fear Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities are aimed at building nuclear weapons. Iran says it needs nuclear fuel for energy.

Foreign ministers from major powers will meet in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss a possible third U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses.

Russia says the Bushehr project is being built under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said the Bushehr plant, on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran, would start up in mid-2008.

Iran, which sits on the world’s second-biggest reserves of both gas and oil, says it aims to build nuclear power plants with 20,000 megawatts of capacity to meet growing electricity demand, so it can save its hydrocarbons for export.

Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Richard Meares