Moscow: Iran's nuclear facility not safe
Published: Jan. 17, 2011 at 9:06 AM
MOSCOW, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Iran is headed toward a major nuclear disaster if it rushes ahead with plans to start producing energy at the Bushehr nuclear plant this summer, Moscow warns.
Nuclear rods were loaded into the Bushehr nuclear reactors in October with the help of Russian nuclear experts. Russian scientists cautioned, however, that Iran could be headed toward a disaster like the 1985 catastrophe at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear plant if they move too quickly, London's Telegraph newspaper reports.
The Telegraph reports that it reviewed warnings to the Kremlin that state, despite "simple, basic tests" at Bushehr, Russian nuclear scientists "cannot guarantee safe activation of the reactor."
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, shrugged off similar concerns over the Bushehr facility raised after a cyberattack by the Stuxnet computer virus.
"All the rumors related to the Westerners' claims that Stuxnet had caused damage to the nuclear plants are rejected," he was quoted as saying.
Stuxnet works by targeting the speed at which specific components in the centrifuge works, causing problems with the rotational speed. The virus disrupted more than 10 percent of Iranian nuclear centrifuges last year.
The Russian warning came to the Telegraph through Western intelligence reports. Work at Bushehr was commissioned by the Iranian government in the early 1970s.
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