Iran informs IAEA inspectors of Bushehr nuke plant setback

February 26th, 2011 - 12:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington/Tehran, Feb.26 (ANI): Iran has reportedly told atomic inspectors this week that it had run into a serious problem at a newly completed nuclear reactor in Bushehr.

The plant was supposed to start feeding electricity into the national grid this month, the New York Times reports.

According to the paper, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that Tehran has told its inspectors that it was planning to unload nuclear fuel from its Bushehr reactor - a sign of a major upset.

Nuclear experts claim Iran’s first nuclear power plant now threatens to become a major embarrassment, as engineers remove 163 fuel rods from its core.Iran gave no reason for the unexpected fuel unloading, but it has previously admitted that the Stuxnet computer worm infected the Bushehr reactor.

On Friday, computer experts debated whether Stuxnet was responsible for the surprising development.

Other experts said those fears were overblown, but noted that the full workings of the Stuxnet worm remained unclear.

In interviews Friday, nuclear experts said the trouble behind the fuel unloading could range from minor safety issues and operational ineptitude to serious problems that would bring the reactor’s brief operational life to a premature end.

However, the new report from the I.A.E.A. - a regular quarterly review of the Iran nuclear program to the agency’s board - gave the reactor unloading only brief mention and devoted its bulk to an unusually toughly worded indictment of Iranian refusals to answer questions about what the inspectors called “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program.

The reactor is located outside the Iranian city of Bushehr on the nation’s Persian Gulf coast. Priced at more than a billion dollars, it is ringed by dozens of anti-aircraft guns and large radar stations meant to track approaching jets. (ANI)

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