The Bureau recommends an article in today’s Times outlining safety fears at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant.
Just months after Japan’s Fukushima disaster the Times has been handed a document, believed to be written by an Iranian Whistleblower, that warns there is a ‘great likelihood’ that the Iranian reactor will be the world’s next nuclear catastrophe.
It cites ‘second-class engineers’, is said to sit on one of the world’s most seismically active areas and could not withstand an earthquake, has no ‘serious training programme’ for staff and no contingency plan for accidents.
The authenticity of the document is still in question but is said to have been passed to the Times by a reputable source and attributed to a former member of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.
‘They are playing Russian roulette not just with us but with the world’
Sami Alfaraj, Kuwait Centre for Strategic Studies
The plant began operating last month, 35 years after it was first commissioned. The project was initially started in 1975 but was delayed when German contractors Kraftwerk Union Germany pulled out after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It was restarted in the 1990s and the contract awarded to Russian engineers who wanted to start from scratch. But, having already spent $1bn on the project Iran insisted it be built on the German foundations.
The leaked document claims that much of the German work had become corroded and lacks manuals and paperwork. Russian-built parts have had to be adapted to fit the earlier design, raising serious concerns over quality and safety.
Sami Alfaraj head of the Kuwait Centre for Strategic Studies said ‘they are playing Russian roulette not just with us but with the world’ adding that an accident at the Bushehr plant would be a ‘total calamity for the world’.
President Ahmadinejad has insisted that: ‘all the safety rules and regulations and the highest standards have been applied.’
Although ostensibly a power plant there have been fears that Bushehr would be used as a cover for developing a nuclear weapons programme. Iran is the only country with a nuclear power plant which is not a signatory to the Convention of Nuclear Safety which ensures adherence to international safety standards.
To read the article in full click here.
Sign up for email alerts from the Bureau here.