The Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi voiced the country’s willingness to buy nuclear reactors from Japan provided that the sales include “lucrative commercial support.”
“Of course if we receive any suggestion or any proposal from Japan that would sound very interesting to us, we would certainly be ready to enter negotiation in that domain,” Salehi said in an interview with Kyodo News on Sunday.
Salehi, however, noted that Tehran has not raised the matter with Tokyo so far.
“Japan is a very cautious country so we have to wait until things evolve. So we are not in a hurry. Whenever the Japanese are ready, we are ready,” he said.
His comments came after beginning of the construction of the second unit of a nuclear power plant near the Iranian southern port city of Bushehr in cooperation with Russia.
A third unit is also planned to be built in collaboration with Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom by 2026.
“Iran’s fourth power plant that we are going to build will be located in the Makran region of southern Iran. Chinese have already visited that region for site selection, but we have not come yet to a final agreement,” Salehi told Kyodo.
According to Salehi, about seven years ago, Japanese officials had shown interest in cooperating with Iran to construct new power plants.
Now, the coming into force of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a lasting nuclear agreement between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), has encouraged many countries to develop closer cooperation with Iran.
“Now we have the nuclear deal behind us, but we have not seen any indication as to whether Japan’s government or industry (will) enter negotiation with us,” Salehi added.
In the meantime, he said, there is still scope for Iran and Japan to expand their cooperation on nuclear safety, specifically the training of Iranian experts in the so-called “3S’s” -namely safeguards, safety and security- a topic that the European Union is also interested in.
“Everything is going well in this domain,” the Iranian nuclear chief added.
Since last October, when Iranian and Japanese foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding in Tehran, the two countries have been exchanging experts to increase the level of security and safety at Iran’s nuclear facilities.
To that end, Salehi said, “Japan has expressed interest in setting up a center of excellence in Iran on safety issues and so did the EU… So there may be a trilateral cooperation between Iran, the EU and Japan in this matter.”
“We anticipate that we will be learning more than the Japanese learning from us. There is lot we can learn from Japan because they have a lot of experience in running a nuclear plant for so many decades and the very valuable (experiences) that they have accumulated during the unfortunate Fukushima incident,” he went on to say.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)