Iran reloads fuel into Bushehr n-plant

Moscow, April 8 (IANS) Iran Friday began reloading nuclear fuel into the reactor of its Bushehr power plant, Xinhua reported.

The refuelling is being carried out after a series of checks completed on the plant, said Russian state-run contractor Atomstroyexport, which is carrying out the task.

'On April 8, 2011, loading of fuel into the core began at Bushehr,' the company said in a statement, adding all operations are being carried out as per schedule agreed with Iran.

To ensure safety, it was necessary to remove the fuel from the reactor earlier, as experts had found small metal pieces in a cooling system, it said.

It said the Bushehr plant has fully complied with the nuclear non-proliferation regime and international laws. It, however, didn't say when the plant would be commissioned.

The construction of the plant started in 1975 by German companies. However, the work was halted after the US imposed an embargo on hi-tech machinery supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution. In 1998, Russia had signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction.

In February this year, upon Russia's request, Iran temporarily removed the fuel from the reactor core in order to conduct a number of tests and carry out technical work.