Russia requested unloading of Bushehr reactor fuel

February 28, 2011

TEHRAN, Feb. 27 (MNA) -- Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow has said the decision to unload fuel from the reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is based on a request by Russia and has nothing to do with the Stuxnet computer virus.

The measure was taken to make a final check of the reactor, Ambassador Reza Sajjadi told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday.
Sajjadi made the remarks after a confidential report was issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday, which said Iran had announced it would have to unload fuel from the reactor of the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Iran had started loading the fuel into the reactor in October 2010 after the inauguration of the plant on August 21, 2010.
The Bushehr nuclear power plant has a pressurized water reactor with a capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of power.
Certain media outlets are saying that there is a link between the decision to unload the fuel and the Stuxnet computer virus.
In July 2010, media reports claimed that Stuxnet had targeted industrial computers around the globe, with Iran being the main target of the attack. The reports stated that the Bushehr nuclear power plant was at the center of the cyber attack.
However, another IAEA report issued and made public on Friday maintains that Iran’s nuclear facilities have not been affected by the Stuxnet computer virus since the country’s production of low-enriched uranium is higher than it was last fall.
Commenting on the decision, Ambassador Sajjadi said, “Iranian and Russian nuclear experts believe that we should follow extraordinary safety standards at the power plant because the power plant has been built on a German infrastructure and a combination of Russian and German technologies has been used (to construct the plant).”
He also said the Bushehr nuclear power plant is the first of its kind in the Islamic world, and the Zionist regime and certain Western countries had made efforts to pressure Russia to pull out of the project.
However, the Russians did not withdraw from the project, completed the plant, loaded fuel into its core, and launched it, Sajjadi added.
On Saturday, ISNA quoted Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as saying, “Based on a request by Russia, which is in charge of completing the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the fuel inside the reactor core will be taken out for a while to conduct some experiments and (take) technical measures.”
Soltanieh said that the fuel will be reloaded into the core of the reactor after the experiments, adding that the entire process will be conducted under the supervision of the IAEA.
---------- Unloading Bushehr nuclear fuel is a normal move
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Hamid Khadem-Qaemi said on Saturday that unloading fuel from the Bushehr nuclear power plant is a normal move.
“It is a kind of technical inspection and is intended to ensure the safety of the reactor,” Khadem-Qaemi stated.
“We prioritize ensuring the safety of the power plant, protecting the national investment, and continuing technical cooperation with Russia over the prompt start-up of the power plant,” the AEOI spokesman added.
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