Iran launches unexplained emergency shutdown of Bushehr nuclear power plant
Iran’s only nuclear power plant suffered an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown.
- The nuclear power plant is monitored by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency
- A nuclear official had previously warned that the plant could stop working
- Senior diplomats say further progress has been made in talks to restore landmark 2015 nuclear development deal for Iran
An official of the national electricity company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, told a talk show on Sunday that the closure of the Bushehr plant began on Saturday and would last “from three to four days”.
Without further details, he said power outages could result.
This is the first time that Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant, located in the southern port city of Bushehr.
It was put online in 2011 with the help of Russia.
Iran is required to return spent reactor fuel rods to Russia as a nuclear non-proliferation measure.
Earlier on Sunday, Tavanir released a statement saying the nuclear power plant was being repaired, without providing further details. He said repair work would take until Friday.
In March, nuclear chief Mahmoud Jafari said the plant could go out of business because Iran cannot supply it with parts and equipment in Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the United States in 2018.
The Bushehr plant is fueled by uranium produced in Russia and is monitored by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reported shutdown.
Construction of the reactor on the northern Persian Gulf coast began under the Shah of Iran in the mid-1970s.
After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the plant was repeatedly targeted during the Iran-Iraq War. Russia then completed construction of the facility.
The factory, which sits near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful earthquakes, has been periodically rocked by tremors.
No major earthquakes have been reported in the region in recent days.
Progress on Iran nuclear deal
Meanwhile, senior diplomats said on Sunday that further progress was made in talks between Iran and world powers in an attempt to reinstate a landmark 2015 deal abandoned by the Trump administration to contain Iran’s nuclear development.
The deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, abolished international economic sanctions against Iran.
In return, Iran would be subject to unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities, but allowed to enrich uranium to a maximum of 3.67% for its power reactors.
However, former US President Donald Trump tore up the deal in May 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.
Diplomats said on Sunday that it was now up to the governments involved in the negotiations to make political decisions on whether to renew the deal.
It was the first official meeting since the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, won a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election last week.
Some diplomats fear that the Iranian election of Mr Raisi will complicate a possible return to the nuclear deal.
Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chaired the final meeting of the sixth round of talks between Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran, told reporters that ” we are closer to an agreement, but we are not there yet “.
“We have made progress on a number of technical issues,” added Mora.
“We now have more clarity on the technical documents – all quite complex – and that clarity also allows us to get a good idea of ââwhat the political issues are.”
He did not develop.
Senior Russian representative Mikhail Ulyanov said he expected diplomats to return for the final round of talks in Vienna in about ten days and could finalize negotiations by mid-July. .
AP / Reuters