A Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran was shut down last month to limit any damage after stray bolts were found beneath the fuel cells, a Russian nuclear industry source said on Friday.
The explanation for the shutdown of the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr plant contradicted assurances by Iran that nothing unexpected had happened and removing nuclear fuel from the plant was part of a normal procedure.
“Indicators showed that some small external parts were … in the reactor vessel,” said the source, identifying them as bolts beneath the fuel cells.
The West suspects the Islamic Republic of trying to develop nuclear arms. It denies the accusations, and its first plant near the Gulf city of Bushehr is a symbol of what it says are it’s purely peaceful nuclear ambitions.
The U.N. nuclear agency said in a confidential November 16 report that fuel assemblies – bundles of fuel rods loaded into the reactor – had been transferred from the reactor core to a spent fuel pond in October, but gave no reason.
It was the second time in less than two years fuel has been unloaded from the reactor, which Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said in late August had been powered up to full capacity.
Second time in two years? What’s going on here? Debka thinks it might be Stuxnet all over again? They can’t be wrong all of the time.