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Iran wants role, after all, as nuclear fuel maker for Bushehr reactor

Iran's proposal to jointly produce fuel with Russia for the Bushehr nuclear power plant is bound to raise even more opposition to its nuclear pursuits.

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Iran has proposed to share the production of nuclear with Russia for its Russian-built Bushehr power plant.

Vahid Salemi/AP/File

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Iran has proposed to share fuel production with Russia for its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant – a move bound to raise even more concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The power plant, which began receiving fuel Saturday and is set to commence producing power next month, is supposed to be operated under an agreement whereby Moscow supplies the uranium fuel for the plant and takes back all of the plant’s spent fuel for reprocessing in Russia.

Bushehr’s completion was delayed for years, in part because of international qualms over how the plant’s fuel would be managed. International powers including the US dropped their opposition after Russia assured the international community that it would retain control of the fuel.

Iran’s proposal to create a consortium with Russia to jointly manage Bushehr’s fuel cycle is one more development that will almost certainly put Iran’s nuclear program more sharply in the sights of the US Congress. Some lawmakers have already expressed disquiet over the Obama administration’s quiet tolerance of Russia’s fueling of the Bushehr reactor.

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