Earthquake danger to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Another Cause for Alarm in Iran’s Nuclear Program: Earthquakes, The Atlantic, Jill Keenan, 18 April 13,  The country’s nuclear power plant is built near tectonic plates, and reports show it may not be safe in the event of a major seismic event. On April 16, a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeast Iran, sending tremors across the region and causing casualties that are expected to reach into the hundreds. According to an Iranian official , it was the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 40 years. This devastation comes only one week after another earthquake hit the town of Kaki, also in southern Iran, killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 850 others. Shockwaves from both earthquakes were felt as far away as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and western Saudi Arabia. They are only the two most recent in a series of earthquakes that regularly haunt this seismically unstable country.

Most ominously, the epicenter of the April 9 earthquake’s first tremor, which measured a 6.3 on the Richter scale, was centered only 62 miles away from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.

These incidents have raised global concerns that a subsequent earthquake could strike even closer to the plant, causing a nuclear disaster similar to the 2011 incident at Fukushima. Despite international outrage, however, the Iranian government remains unconcerned about the risk. Only hours after the April 9 earthquake, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, reiterated Iran’s intention to build two more reactors at Bushehr, along with 16 additional reactors in other parts of the country. This decision even defies a report that Iranian nuclear scientists secretly compiled in 2011 in response to Fukushima, which concluded that the potential consequences of an earthquake near the power plant might be catastrophic. “The seismic danger to Iran and its implications for the reactor in Bushehr could be disastrous…similar to the disaster in Fukushima, Japan,” the report stated.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, has taken the threat more seriously. In response to the first earthquake, GCC states met on Sunday to look into ways to address potential nuclear leaks stemming from the Bushehr plant, since a disaster there would have grave implications for them, too. Toxic nuclear material can be carried by wind and water for hundreds of miles, bringing irreversible damage far beyond the boundaries of the initial disaster. And on top of the air pollution and immediate human toll, a nuclear incident at the Bushehr plant would contaminate the Gulf waters that are a main source of drinking water for nearby countries. Finally, many major Gulf cities are far closer to Bushehr than the Iranian seat of government in Tehran; Kuwait City, for example, is a mere 155 miles from the nuclear power plant while Tehran is a more comfortable 807 miles away…..
According to a report released this month by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace , the Bushehr plant sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates, and Iran’s “nuclear materials and stockpiles are some of the least secure in the world.” Although the Bushehr plant cost over $11 billion dollars (making it one of the most expensive reactors in the world) and took over four decades to build, it fills only 2 percent of Iran’s electricity needs…… http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/another-cause-for-alarm-in-irans-nuclear-program-earthquakes/275098/

 

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