Iran has awarded a tender to "enhance nuclear security in Iran" to two European consortia, according to Naser Rastkhah, an engineer and adviser to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI).The tender was worth up to €5m ($5.3m), which will be provided by the European Union, ISNA cited Rastkhah as saying on 30 March. "The allocated budget is 4.8 million euros, but can reach a five million cap," he specified. In July 2015, Iran and six world powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related economic and energy sanctions. "The tender adhered to the framework of the JCPOA, and representatives from Iran, the EU, and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research [CERN] were in attendance," he added. Rastkhah said EU laws prevented him from naming the consortiums at this point, but that more details would be released soon.
The agreement will be implemented through three projects, Rastkhah said. "The first project is related to enhancing nuclear security rules and regulations that apply to the fuel cycle [process]. The second project is related to consultations on carrying out stress tests," he said. He said Iran's first Russian-built nuclear power plant in the southern province of Bushehr had already undergone its initial tests, but that the new tests would be carried out with European cooperation. Russian experts will participate in the stress tests carried out with European partnership, he noted
Under the third project, according to the Iranian official, the EU will help Iran set up a "nuclear security centre". "In the first phase of this agreement to enhance nuclear security in Iran - which will take 36 months to implement - assessment work will be carried out and in the later phases, the centre will receive equipment."
Meanwhile, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the AEOI signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear materials transportation on 29 March. The MOU was signed in Moscow by Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachovand Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's minister of foreign affairs, following a meeting in Moscow between Iranian and Russian presidents, Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin. Rosatom said the document envisages "the creation and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure in Iran and Russia, as well as the acquisition of licences and permits for nuclear materials transportation (including via the Caspian sea). The memorandum emphasised that the parties intend to strictly adhere to international standards on the safety of nuclear materials.