Bushehr nuclear power plant_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
MOSCOW - Iran's Russian-built nuclear power plant has experienced technical problems with its generator and experts are working to resolve the issue, Tehran's envoy to Moscow said on Monday.
Ambassador Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said there was "absolutely no link" between this problem at the Bushehr plant - which was shut down when U.N. nuclear inspectors went there in mid-May - and a powerful earthquake that shook the region two months ago.
He spoke a few days after Arab Gulf states sought reassurances from Iran at a U.N. nuclear agency meeting over the safety of its only nuclear energy plant, which is located in an earthquake-prone area.
The facility on Iran's Gulf coast is a growing worry for nearby countries: if radiation ever does escape it could be blown over the Gulf to Qatar's capital Doha and the main oil exporting ports of the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier this year, reports by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had informed inspectors visiting the plant in mid-February and again last month that the plant was shut down but gave no details.
"The one problem in the working of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr occurred with the generator," Sajjadi told a news conference, without saying when it happened. "We are working very closely with Russian specialists to resolve the issue."
Tehran repeatedly has rejected safety concerns about the reactor, which began operations in 2011 after decades of delays. Iran and the Russian company that built Bushehr said it was not affected by the April earthquake.
This past Sunday, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi dismissed suggestions that a natural disaster could pose a threat to the plant’s durability.
“The propaganda by certain countries regarding concerns over the security of this power plant is baseless,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying by official state media.
In April, at least 35 people died and over 800 were injured after a 6.1 earthquake struck the town of Kaki, just 90 kilometers southeast of Bushehr. The Iranian government insists, however, that the plant was not harmed by the quake.