News / Middle East

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Open With International Oversight

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 (file photo)
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 (file photo)

Multimedia

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant has been completed. Russia, which supplied the reactor, is now training Iranians to operate the facility. And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), of which Iran is a member, says it is committed to imparting a "culture of nuclear safety" for all member nuclear power operators.  As last month's nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant shows, such safety considerations can become a life-or-death matter.

Workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, north of Tokyo, on the Pacific Ocean coast, have struggled to prevent the spread of radiation following damage incurred by last month's massive earthquake.  Their efforts reflect the extensive emergency training they - and other nuclear power workers worldwide - are given. That includes the personnel at Iran's new Bushehr nuclear power plant.

The nuclear power industry will never forget what happened 25 years ago at the Chernobyl facility in Ukraine.  There, an experiment with the cooling system - one not provided for in the training regimen - led to a reactor explosion and what became the world's worst nuclear power disaster.

Especially after Chernobyl, the global nuclear power industry has focused on what it calls a "culture of nuclear safety."  At The Nuclear Energy Institute, a U.S. trade group, Tony Pietrangelo explains the concept.

"The safety culture exists on a continuum," said Pietrangelo.  "You can always work to improve it.  It is a questioning attitude. It is professionalism. And again, it is that profound respect for the technology you are dealing with."

One pillar of that safety culture is thorough training for those who will operate nuclear power plants.  Russia's state nuclear power entity, ROSATOM, which completed the Bushehr plant after years of delays, is now training the Iranian staff to run it.  At the U.S. Broookhaven National Laboratory, senior scientist Upendra Rohatgi describes the training regimen.

"They are providing operator training in terms of classroom [instruction]," noted Rohatgi.  "Then also, they have full-scope [covering all situations] simulators, which are the same as western [in terms of] standards, and then, in-plant training."

Like the aircraft simulators that pilots train on, nuclear power operators can learn how to cope with problems and sudden emergencies without making real-life mistakes that could cause fatalities and devastate the environment.

ROSATOM will remain on-site for the immediate future, as it has done with other client nations such as China and India.  And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), of which Iran is a member state, will oversee the plant's operation.

The IAEA sends teams of inspectors to nuclear power plants to ensure that best practices are being followed.

"They look at the training programs, how the operators are trained to cope with accidents on simulators, and so on.  And, we also look at the qualifications of people to perform maintenance.  And also, the preparation of the plant for possible emergencies," noted former IAEA Nuclear Installation Safety Director Philippe Jamet.

Iran's Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly said that as an IAEA member, it will follow that U.N. agency's operational and safety protocols at the Bushehr plant.

But what the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant makes clear is that the severity of natural events, such as a massive earthquake, can overwhelm even the highest levels of training and attention to safety.

This is part three of a three-part series.  Click here for part 1 and here part 2.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid