World Nuclear News reports that Russia has agreed to build up to eight new nuclear power reactor units in Iran, including at the Bushehr site on the Persian Gulf in southwest Iran, and four at another, to-be-determined site.

The agreement was signed in Moscow by Sergey Kirienko, Rosatom director general, and Ali-Akbar Salehi, vice-president of Iran and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

In addition, a contract for construction of two 1,000 MWe power units for Bushehr Phase II was signed by the heads of Rosatom subsidiary NIAEP-ASE and the Nuclear Power Production and Development Company of Iran. Two desalination plants also would be part of the construction project, the news report said.

Rosatom reportedly said that the parties intend to cooperate in building an additional four power units with VVER reactors on a turn-key basis at the site of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, as well as four similar power units on another site in Iran. The VVER is the Russian version of the pressurized water reactor.

Rosatom also said the entire construction project of the nuclear power units in Iran, including equipment and nuclear fuel supplies, will be under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and fully meet the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Under the signed agreement, Rosatom will provide nuclear fuel "throughout the entire lifecycle" of the eight new power units. Used nuclear fuel reportedly will be returned to Russia for reprocessing and storage.

Rosatom will arrange the training of Iranian specialists in the operation, servicing and engineering support for the new plants, as well as in the field of regulation of nuclear and radiation safety.

Unit 1 at the Bushehr nuclear power plant is a VVER V-446 pressurized water reactor unit, which was connected to the grid in 2011 and began commercial operation in September 2013.