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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs