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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid