Iran Quake Kills 37, Bushehr Plant Reportedly Unscathed
Iran stepped up relief efforts on Wednesday for survivors of a powerful earthquake that killed 37 people and damaged dozens of villages, but apparently left the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant unscathed.
The magnitude-6.3 quake was centered about 100 kilometers (63 miles) southeast of the plant, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
At least 850 people were injured by Tuesday’s quake, Iran’s Press TV reported.
More than 90 villages in the southern province of Bushehr were hit hard, with two completely destroyed, the head of Iran's Red Crescent rescue corps, Mahmoud Mozafar, told state television.
The Iranian Red Crescent Society sent five assessment teams to coordinate rescue operations, IRNA reported, adding that ambulances were sent from Tehran to assist in the rescue effort.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that helicopters have also been sent to assist with the quake’s aftermath.
Iran's atomic energy chief Fereydoon Abbasi Davani said the Bushehr plant was not operational when the quake struck as it was "under maintenance," Iranian media reported.
The Russian-built plant was designed to withstand an earthquake of a magnitude greater than 8, Abbasi Davani added.
The plant's chief engineer, Mahmoud Jafari, said "no operational or security protocols were breached."
Tuesday's quake coincided with Iran's unveiling of two uranium mines and an ore processing facility in the center of the country.