Tehran (IP) - Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) assured that Iran's nuclear facilities are under reliable protection.

Iran PressIran news: On the eve of talks on the Iranian nuclear deal, which will resume in Vienna on December 27, Iranian Vice President, and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of the country Mohammad Eslami told RIA Novosti what progress Tehran has made in the development of nuclear energy, how useful the nuclear power plant built by Russia has become, and whether the debt for construction has been paid off, and also assured that Iran's nuclear facilities are under reliable protection.

- This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the first power unit at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the only one in the entire Middle East. Did this justify the tremendous efforts of Iran and Russia to build and launch the nuclear power plant at the appropriate time? For example, how many barrels of oil has Iran saved by using this power plant over this period? At what stage is the construction of the second power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant proceeding?

Eslami: The transition to clean energy is a necessity in the modern world since global warming has led to the fact that climate change has endangered human life. Therefore, we need to move towards renewable energy sources. However, what Iran has done with Russia (which has been operating in Iranian Bushehr since 2012), namely the country's first nuclear power plant, is a huge project. As a result, Iran, at the expense of this nuclear power plant, introduces about 1000 megawatts of electricity into the grid and has already generated about 52 billion kilowatts of electricity to date. The amount of electricity we have produced is equivalent to saving about 80 million barrels of oil.

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Construction, launch of nuclear power plants main strategy of Iran

The construction and launch of nuclear power plants is one of the main strategies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, and we will continue to develop this area.

- To what extent do Western sanctions affect Iran's nuclear development program? Is there really such a danger that due to the freezing of Iran's bank accounts abroad, the work of the first power unit of the nuclear power plant will be suspended? Is it really so? If so, what exactly is the problem? In this regard, Iran owes Russia $ 500 million for the construction of the second power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Is there an understanding of how and in what time frame you can solve this problem?

Eslami- The important thing is that the sanctions are cruel, inhuman and illegal. No logic, no free person can accept the fact that the United States is applying these unjust sanctions against the Iranian people. It is a clear picture of the anti-humanism and flight from reconciliation that Washington embodies. Naturally, our country has learned from the sanctions, which is very important. Sanctions hinder our development. Sanctions violate the way of life of our people. Based on this, the abilities of our people and the potential of the territory of our state, we have built our country to resist these sanctions. Everything that we have achieved in these forty years after the revolution (since 1979) has been affected by these sanctions. Yes, our bank accounts are frozen. At the moment, there is no debt to the Russian government for the first power unit of the nuclear power plant.

- To what extent are the Bushehr nuclear power plant and other nuclear power facilities in Iran protected from possible cyberattacks from foreign states? Do Russian cybersecurity specialists help Tehran in this?

Eslami: Any country pays great attention to ensuring the safety of its nuclear power plants. All of our systems are secure, all vulnerabilities are under control, thanks to the measures we have taken. We hope that such heightened security measures against our nuclear infrastructure will disappoint those who try to harm them.

- What work is currently underway on the part of the third power unit of the Bushehr NPP? When will construction start?

Eslami: Construction of the second and third power units is about 23 months behind schedule. We have a debt to Moscow for these two blocks, their amount has already been determined. We must have almost balanced them, given the financial terms we agreed on and the loan we took out to do so.

We had to pay an advance for our contracts for 2020, 2021 and 2022, which we will finance in accordance with the agreements we make.

We expect from Rosatom that it will accelerate the implementation of the project with an agreed plan to compensate for all delays. Block 2 is currently being concreted, and the process of ensuring the strength of the structure is underway. Regarding the third block, I can say that the soil is being strengthened and now preparations are underway for concreting the foundation.

- You recently made a statement that Iran intends to achieve a capacity of 8000 MW in its nuclear power. Are there any discussions on the construction of new power plants in cooperation with Moscow? Will these plants be like Bushehr - with high power, or could they be low-power nuclear power plants? Is the development of such projects a promising direction in nuclear power? Can Iran and Russia solve the technical problems associated with the project for a plant in Fordow, where stable (non-radioactive) isotopes were to be produced, which became impossible after the start of the uranium enrichment process?

Eslami: The challenge we face in the construction of new power plants is to reach 10 thousand megawatts of energy. Today our country needs at least 17 thousand megawatts of electricity. In this regard, the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is structured in such a way as to maximize the use of renewable energy sources, so that Russia can also participate in this development process together with Iran. Since Russia has invested in other countries, we expect, moreover, we invite international investors to participate in the construction of this attractive 10,000 MW project in Iran.

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Iran can already produce nuclear fuel

- When do you think Iran will be able to independently produce nuclear fuel for its nuclear power plants?

Eslami: Iran can already produce nuclear fuel. We held talks with Rosatom and we hope that within the framework of our interaction, as well as on the basis of the plans and contracts that we will conclude with it, we will be able to start using Iranian fuel in the reactor itself in Bushehr.

Iran does not seek enrichment above 60%

- If the parties to the negotiations in Vienna do not come to an agreement, the United States will not return to the JCPOA and the sanctions against Iran will not be lifted, will you exceed the uranium enrichment level of 60%?

Eslami: Not. All our goals in terms of uranium enrichment are to meet our industrial, production needs, as well as the needs of our consumers for those goods that our country and our population need today. All our atomic activities are carried out within the framework of agreements, statutes and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

- Why are inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency so carefully checked before entering a nuclear facility? Is it possible that among them there are spies and saboteurs who are misled by countries seeking to strike at your nuclear program?

Eslami: When you enter an important public facility, you should not take things with you. We did not violate the protocols of our inspectors. In this regard, it is quite the opposite - they must comply with them. They must follow our rules. Wherever you go in the world, it will be the same everywhere. We respect them in accordance with the same principles and in no case accept inspectors who are employees of foreign intelligence services acting under the guise of agency inspectors.


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