Iran Pulls Fuel From Bushehr Plant Just Before Power Project Scheduled to Go Online

Iranian authorities have decided to pull the fuel from the country’s first commercial nuclear reactor a week before it was scheduled to go online.

Last week, Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency it would pull the fuel assemblies while running tests on the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr power plant on Iran’s Persian Gulf Coast. According to a report by Reuters, people with knowledge of the project said a pump broke and that small debris was circulating through the reactor’s primary cooling system.

Construction began on the Bushehr plant in 1975 but halted when German engineers from Siemens left the country following the 1979 Islamic revolution. In 1995, the Iranian government hired Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom to finish the project. Delayed well past its scheduled 1999 opening by construction hang-ups, the reactor’s first criticality was scheduled for last week.

Foreign intelligence reports cited in news stories fueled speculation that the Stuxnet virus played a role in the delay. The sophisticated worm reportedly destroyed centrifuges in the Iranian uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in 2009. Iranian officials denied Stuxnet was a factor in the decision to pull Bushehr's fuel rods.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!