Iran removes fuel from controversial nuclear plant
Bushehr takes a step back as tests are conducted on its reactor
The controversial Russian-built Bushehr Nuclear Power plant has added yet another setback to its chequered past as Iran announced that fuel rods were being removed from its reactor.
Due to begin producing power in the first half of this year, INSA news agency has reported Iran’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog as saying: “Based on the recommendation of Russia, which is in charge of completing the Bushehr atomic power plant, the fuel inside the reactor core will be taken out for a while to conduct some experiments and technical work.”
Workers began adding the rector’s fuel rods in October last year, and in January Iran’s ex-atomic chief announced that April would see the plant ready to generate electricity. A pressurised water reactor, the Bushehr plant has the capacity to produce 1,000MW of power, and this latest setback is just one in a series stretching back 30 years.
For an in-depth report on the Middle East’s nuclear programmes, see the March edition of Utilities Middle East where we’ll be looking at the challenges the region is facing in the race to become atomic.