Iranian authorities will permanently evacuate all the villages surrounding its unfinished nuclear reactors in the southern Gulf city of Bushehr within the next year, press reports said Wednesday.
The first residents will be relocated within two months and all inhabitants within a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius of the site will be evacuated within a year, the Hayat-e No paper said.
"A team of European experts is at the Bushehr site now to examine the possible effects of radiation," an unnamed official told the daily, adding that the two reactors are due to be operational in 2004.
"The first delivery of auxiliary equipment for the facility is due to arrive from Ukraine in the coming months," the official said.
German group Siemens was the initial contractor for the longstanding project but pulled out at the request of the German government after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
The site, repeatedly bombed during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, lay dormant until a 1995 deal with Moscow to supply two Russian-made reactors.
Iran's nuclear program has come under fire from Washington, which accuses Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and has criticized third parties for alleged technology transfers to the Islamic regime.
But Iran says the plant is being built only for civilian energy purposes, and allows regular inspections of Bushehr by the International Atomic Energy Agency -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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