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Iran’s only nuclear power plant is shut down in an emergency


The only nuclear power plant in Iran has been subjected to an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown, the state television reported on Sunday.

An official from the state-owned electrical company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show that the shutdown of the Bushehr plant began on Saturday and will take “three to four days”.

Without going into detail, he said there could be power outages. This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. It went online in 2011 with the help of Russia. Iran is required to return spent fuel rods from the reactor to Russia as a non-proliferation measure.

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Iran's only nuclear power plant was temporarily shut down, state television reported on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (AP Photo / Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour, File)

Iran’s only nuclear power plant was temporarily shut down, state television reported on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (AP Photo / Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour, File)

Tavanir had previously published a statement on Sunday that said the nuclear power plant would be repaired, without giving any further details. The repair work would take until Friday, it said.

In March, nuclear official Mahmoud Jafari said the facility could shut down because Iran cannot source parts and equipment for it from Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the US in 2018.

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Bushehr runs on uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is overseen by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA admitted that it was aware of reports on the facility but declined to comment.

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

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The facility, which is located near active fault lines and was built for strong earthquakes, has been regularly shaken by earthquakes. No major earthquakes have been reported in the region in the past few days.

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