Iran’s only nuclear power plant undergoes emergency shutdown


TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s only nuclear power plant has suffered an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown, state television reported on Sunday.

An official of the national electricity company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show that the closure of the Bushehr plant began on Saturday and would last “from three to four days”.

Without further details, he said power outages could result. This is the first time that Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. It was put online in 2011 with the help of Russia. Iran is required to return spent reactor fuel rods to Russia as a nuclear non-proliferation measure.

Earlier on Sunday, Tavanir released a statement saying the nuclear power plant was being repaired, without providing further details. He said repair work would take until Friday.

In March, nuclear chief Mahmoud Jafari said the plant could go out of business because Iran cannot buy it parts and equipment from Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the United States in 2018.

Bushehr is powered by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA admitted to being aware of the reports on the plant, but declined to comment.

Construction in Bushehr, on the northern Persian Gulf coast, began under the Shah of Iran in the mid-1970s. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the plant was repeatedly targeted during the Iran-Iraq War. Russia then completed construction of the facility.

The factory, which sits near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful earthquakes, has been periodically rocked by tremors. No major earthquakes have been reported in the region in recent days.


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