News / Middle East

Iran Begins Loading Fuel into Core of Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Workers work in a part of the electricity generating plant of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 26 Oct 2010
Workers work in a part of the electricity generating plant of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 26 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Greg Thielmann, Arms Conotrol Association

Iranian media report workers have begun loading fuel into the core of the country's first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr. The process began in August, but was delayed due to a leak in a storage pool.

Top Iranian officials watched as fuel began being loaded into the Bushehr nuclear power plant Tuesday.

Repeated delays in completing the plant, followed by delays in putting it online have created embarrassment for the Iranian government.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi spoke to Iranian TV says that today, Tuesday, marks the final stage in the start up process, as fuel is loaded into the reactor's core. He notes that the process is not finished, however, and that it could take two or three months to inject the full 163 fuel rods into the reactor.

Salehi also indicated that the plant probably won't be connected to Iran's national power grid until mid February. He claimed at the plant's inauguration in August that it would produce electricity by November.

Salehi's deputy, Mohammad Ahmadian, explained that a leak was partially to blame for the delay in completing the fuel injection process:

He says that the central pool of the reactor building was leaking and that the leakage needed to be localized and removed, prompting the delay.

Some press reports speculated that the plant's computers may also have become infected with the computer virus Stuxnet, creating havoc with its operating systems.

Russia, which built the plant, is providing it with nuclear fuel and will take back all spent fuel rods. Iran has also agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the process.

The U.S. and other Western states have given Russia the green light to launch Bushehr but oppose Iran's illicit enrichment of uranium at a plant in Natanz. Tehran insists Natanz is part of a civilian nuclear program, but the West fears it is part of a covert project to build nuclear weapons.

The European Union has invited Iran to resume negotiations over its nuclear program in Vienna, next month. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has welcomed the talks, but Tehran has not formally accepted the invitation.

Greg Thielmann of Arms Control Association comments on Iran's nuclear activities:

Iranian-born analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute in Washington argues that the Bushehr plant is mostly a sideshow, involving Iranian prestige:

"Bushehr is not really considered as the most sensitive part of this standoff with the West," said Vatanka. "So, I don't really know why Bushehr, in this context of potential resumption of talks on the 15th of November, is in any way a critical issue. I look at it as the Iranians trying to say 'look, we have a success here.' Clearly, they can't point to the same degree of success or advancement on the enrichment of uranium. The centrifuges at Natanz are not working the way they should."

Iran recently announced that it has 30 kilograms of 20 percent grade highly enriched uranium, enough to produce atomic bombs, according to experts. Such Iranian claims continue to worry the West that Tehran is proceeding with a covert nuclear program.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid