Iran’s only nuclear power plant, located in Bushehr, will be shut down until Friday due to a “technical fault.”
According to a representative from the government energy company Tavanir, the Bushehr plant was shut down on Saturday for repair work that would last “three to four days,” potentially creating power interruptions.
It’s the first time Iran has disclosed an emergency shutdown of the plant since it was launched with Russian assistance as part of a nuclear nonproliferation deal in 2011. As a safeguard, Iran is supposed to return spent fuel rods from the reactor to Russia.
“Following a technical fault at Bushehr power plant, and after a one-day notice to the energy ministry, the plant was temporarily shut down and taken off the power grid,” Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on its website early Monday.
The city of Bushehr is powered by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations (IAEA).
Iranians have been asked to reduce their consumption while the repairs are being carried out. According to Iran’s national electric company, there is a “predicted rise in temperature” and “limitations in power generation due to ongoing repairs at [the] Bushehr plant.”
A senior researcher at the Tehran-based Center for Middle East Strategic Studies, Abas Aslani, told Al Jazeera that “the shutdown could be a blow to an Iranian power supply already strained by cryptocurrency mining.”
“This [shutdown] is more important in terms of the power outage, than the nuclear aspect of the facility,” Aslani continued. “Because these days we are seeing the cryptocurrency mining is consuming electricity in the country and this has caused some power outages in the past.”
In March, nuclear official Mahmoud Jafari stated that the plant could be shut down because Iran cannot obtain parts and equipment from Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the US in 2018.
The plant is located near active fault lines and has previously been jolted by tremors, but there has been no significant seismic activity near the port city in recent days.
The actual cause of the shutdown has yet to be revealed.
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) June 20, 2021
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