Russia is to draw up a proposal for the construction of new nuclear plants in Iran despite coming under fire from the US for building the $800 million Bushehr reactor.

Experts from Russia are preparing a feasibility study for new Iranian reactors, which they will deliver via a delegation to Tehran in early October. Yevgeny Reshetnikov, deputy nuclear energy minister, has said that it would be cheaper to build another reactor at Bushehr, but that local electricity demand is low so much of the electricity would have to be transmitted over long distances.

Iranian specialists will consider the study and, in December, negotiations will begin on the signing of a new contract.

Washington remains convinced that Iran sponsors terrorism and has long urged Russia to abandon construction of the Bushehr reactor, fearing that Iran could use the technology to develop nuclear weapons. Moscow and Tehran insist that the plant will only be used for civilian purposes and will remain under international control.