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Russia, Iran To Complete Deal On Nuclear Fuel

25 May 2004 -- The head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, Aleksandr Rumyantsev, says that Russia and Iran will complete a pact this summer requiring Iran to return all spent fuel from a new nuclear reactor to Russia.

Russia has overridden U.S. opposition to its construction of an $800-million reactor at Bushehr in Iran. But it has sought to alleviate U.S. concerns that Iranian scientists could extract weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel.

Iran, with the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia, says it needs nuclear energy to meet booming demand for electricity and to keep oil and gas reserves for export.

Once the protocol is signed, Russia will ship reactor fuel to Iran. Spent fuel is to be sent back to a giant storage facility in Siberia.