Daily Israel Report

Iranian Official Admits Bushehr Plant 'Malfunctioned'

Iran's nuclear plant in Bushehr has had an electric generator malfunction, says Iran's ambassador to Russia.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/12/2013, 5:45 AM

Bushehr nuclear power plant
Bushehr nuclear power plant
AFP photo

Iran's Russian-built nuclear power plant has had an electric generator malfunction, an Iranian official admitted on Monday, according to the Israel Hayom daily.

The flaw at the Bushehr plant was not caused by recent earthquakes in Iran, Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi, Iran's ambassador to Russia, was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying.

Sajjadi's comments raised speculation -- amid recent reports of ongoing cyberwarfare between Iran and the West -- that the generator's malfunction could have been the result of a cyber attack.

Israel Hayom quoted Sajjadi as having said Russian and Iranian experts were trying to fix the problem, without saying when it occurred or whether it had led to the plant's shutdown.

Russia's state-controlled Rosatom nuclear agency, which built the plant, had no comment on Sajjadi's statement.

Several countries monitoring Iran's nuclear program said last week they had picked up information that the Bushehr plant was damaged by one or more of several recent earthquakes.

Two diplomats told the Associated Press on Tuesday that long cracks have appeared in at least one section of the structure.

Iran was hit by two earthquakes, one in April and one in early May, both near the Bushehr plant. Iran insists the plant is technically sound and built to withstand all but the largest earthquakes unscathed. Officials in Tehran reassured the international community after both earthquakes that the facility was undamaged.

Iran has defied Western demands that it halt nuclear programs that could be used for making atomic weapons, though it insists its uranium enrichment program has peaceful goals.

The plant in the southern port of Bushehr is not considered a proliferation threat, but some nations have voiced concern about its safety.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz warned on Monday that Iran is getting closer to reaching the “red line” of nuclear capability set out by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.