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    Iranian delegation, Russian officials discuss nuclear cooperation

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    MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Russia's nuclear power agency and an Iranian parliamentary delegation met Thursday to discuss cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy."A whole range of issues related to Russian-Iranian cooperation, including in the peaceful use of nuclear power, was discussed at the meeting," the Russian Federal Nuclear Power Agency said in a press release.

     The Iranian delegates arrived in Russia on July 5 at the invitation of a group in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. The group maintains contacts with the Iranian parliament.

    Russian experts are finishing the construction of the first energy unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. With a capacity of 1,000 MW, the plant will be commissioned next year and Russia is expected to supply up to 80 metric tons of nuclear fuel to the plant, an Agency official said. "The fuel will be supplied to Iran when it is technologically necessary," he said.

    Spent fuel will be kept for three or four years in a special storage near the plant's radiation zone. "There will be no access to the fuel as there is no access to the radiation zone in water-cooled reactors," said Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Nuclear Power Agency and cochairman of the Russian-Iranian commission on trade and business cooperation. "When enough fuel for a shipping package is accumulated, it will be sent back to Russia."

    He said the spent fuel could not be sent back to Russia immediately. "This is difficult due to the high radioactivity and temperature of the spent fuel," Rumyantsev said, before adding that both would fall significantly in three years, which meant the fuel could be transported.

    Rumyantsev said the spent fuel would be placed in nuclear waste storages, where it would remain for another ten years after it arrives in Russia. "After reprocessing, 95% of the fuel will be used in the energy cycle again. The 5% of the waste left over will be vitrified and stored," Rumyantsev said.

    The Iranian delegation will leave Russia on July 10.

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