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Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (epa)
April 29, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki today that Iran must halt uranium enrichment and ensure full-scale cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Lavrov, in a telephone conversation with Mottaki, reiterated that there is an "urgent need" for Iran to take concrete steps to restore international trust.
In a report to the UN Security Council on April 28, the IAEA said Iran had ignored UN demands to halt uranium enrichment.
Following the report, the United States said it would press for a resolution that could allow enforcement of the Security Council demands through punitive sanctions, or the possible use of military force. Russia and China are opposed to such moves.
Mohammad Saidi, deputy chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, earlier today said Tehran would allow intrusive international inspections of its nuclear facilities if its case is brought back to the IAEA.
(Reuters, AP, ITAR-TASS)
Click on the map to view the locations of Russia's civilian nuclear power plants.
POWER OF THE ATOM: As Russia's economy recovers from the collapse of the 1990s, the government is moving forward with plans to expand its nuclear-energy sector. Russia currently has 31 civilian nuclear-power reactors in operation, with the newest being Kalinin-3, which came on line in 2004. Nuclear power accounts for 16 percent of Russia's total power generation. Three additional reactors are currently under construction.
Many of Russia's reactors are quite old. In 2000, the government announced plans to extend the working lifetime of 12 first-generation reactors. So far, seven of these reactors have been upgraded for 15-year extensions and all 12 of them are expected to be replaced by 2020.
Russia controls about 4 percent of the world's known uranium deposits, producing some 2,900 tons of uranium in 2002. Russia has four operating uranium-enrichment plants, the largest of which is located at Novouralsk near Yekaterinburg.
The government has not yet approved a proposal for a permanent nuclear-waste storage facility on the Kola Peninsula.