Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant suffered an emergency shutdown

Iran’s only nuclear power plant has suffered an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown, state television reported Sunday.

An official of the state electricity company Gholamali Rakhshanimehr told state television that the shutdown at the Bushehr nuclear power plant began on Saturday and will last “three to four days.”

He said there may be power outages as a result. This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of a nuclear power plant located in the southern port city of Bushehr.

The nuclear power plant, located near active fault lines and built to withstand powerful earthquakes, is periodically shaken by tremors. No significant earthquakes have been recorded in the area in recent days.

The nuclear power plant was commissioned in 2011 with Russian assistance. Iran is obliged to send spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia as a non-proliferation measure.

The Bushehr nuclear power plant uses uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA did not respond to a request for comment on the reported shutdown.

Construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, located on the coast of the northern Persian Gulf, began under the Shah of Iran in the mid-1970s. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the plant was repeatedly targeted in the Iran-Iraq war. Russia later completed construction of the facility.

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