Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:11PM
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi (L) and European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete attend a joint press conference in Tehran on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Fars news agency)
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi (L) and European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete attend a joint press conference in Tehran on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Fars news agency)

The Islamic Republic and the European Union will start the construction of an advanced nuclear safety center in Iran in the near future, Iran’s nuclear chief says.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi made the remarks in a joint press conference on Saturday with European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who is in Tehran to take part in the first-ever Iran-EU Business Forum on Sustainable Energy.

Salehi added that the nuclear safety center would extend services to regional countries as well.

He added that he has now held three rounds of talks with the EU commissioner over the past 1.5 years, adding that "very good achievements" have since been made and a large portion of the agreements have been implemented.

The AEOI chief noted that the more the interaction between the two sides, the sooner the agreements would be implemented.

Salehi said Iran and the EU also plan to set up a roadmap based on Euratom - a complementary research program for nuclear research and training.

According to this roadmap, Iran can use Euratom facilities in nuclear research and development, he said.

Euratom aims to pursue nuclear research and training activities with an emphasis on continuously improving nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, notably to contribute to the long-term decarbonisation of the energy system in a safe, efficient and secure way.

Salehi further said Iran and the EU plan to draw up a five-year plan for bilateral cooperation and noted that the union would "most likely" supply the €20 million credit required for the project.

He expressed hope that Iran and the EU would bolster their nuclear cooperation, saying the two sides plan to sign two agreements in this regard.

Iran and the European Commission on April 18 signed the first-ever project for nuclear safety cooperation within the framework of a landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.

The €2.5 million project is aimed at improving the capabilities of the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA) by preparing feasibility study for the Nuclear Safety Center under the JCPOA.

It is the first part of a €5 million action plan approved by the European Union in 2016 under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation.

A second project for the stress test at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran is scheduled to be signed in the coming weeks.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany - signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

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