Sole nuclear plant at 'full capacity': Iran

Updated 10 January 2013
0

Sole nuclear plant at 'full capacity': Iran

TEHRAN: Iran’s sole nuclear power plant is now linked to the national energy grid at full capacity after having to be taken off-line for two months, the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization said yesterday.
“There are no particular problems,” organization head Fereydoon Abbasi Davani told state television.
The plant in Bushehr, whose construction was started by Germany before Iran’s 1979 revolution and later completed by Russian firm Rosatom, has been plagued by delays and technical issues.
It was officially commissioned in August 2010 and was meant to have been fully operational by the end of that year, but was only plugged into the national grid in late 2011.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in November that fuel had been unloaded from the Bushehr reactor, shutting the plant down. Western diplomats said that raised fears of safety at the facility.
But Iran, which has been discreet about the difficulties encountered at the nuclear plant, dismissed speculation that the unloading was because of any technical problem and called it a routine procedure.
“After a two-month shutdown needed to check the fuel and the reactor, the Bushehr power plant was linked to the national grid on Saturday and reached its full capacity of 1,000 megawatts” on Tuesday, said Abbasi Davani.
The Bushehr plant does not adhere to the Convention on Nuclear Safety drawn up after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in order to improve transparency and safety.
Iran is striving to develop autonomous nuclear power as part of a nuclear program that has come under intense scrutiny from the IAEA and the UN Security Council.
The five permanent UN Security Council members suspect Iran has ambitions to build an atomic weapons capability. Tehran denies that and says its program is exclusively peaceful.


Russia blocks access of UN inspectors to Douma: French Foreign Minister

Updated 34 min 16 sec ago
0

Russia blocks access of UN inspectors to Douma: French Foreign Minister

PARIS: France urged the Syrian regime and its ally Moscow on Friday to grant weapons inspectors immediate access to the site of an alleged chemical attack, accusing them of “obstruction” aimed at eroding the quality of the evidence.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who arrived in Damascus last Saturday, needed “full, immediate and unhindered access” to the site in the town of Douma.
Their mission has been put on hold after a United Nations security assessment team were fired at, and officials at the OPCW have said that Russian and Syrian forces have likely removed key evidence.
“At this time the OPCW investigators still have no access to the chemical attack site in Douma. If Russia and Syria ultimately abide by their commitments, it will take (the investigators) at least two weeks,” Le Drian said in a statement.
“The OPCW mission has as its goal establishing whether a chemical attack indeed took place and identifying the nature of the chemical agent used. This obstruction will obviously harm the quality of the investigation,” he added.
“It seems likely that this attitude is intended to make proof and material evidence linked to the chemical attack disappear.”
France joined the United States and Britain in launching air strikes a week ago against the regime of President Bashar Assad, in retaliation against an alleged chemical attack in Douma which local medics said killed at least 40 people.
Le Drian said Russia was issuing “contradictory official statements on the chemical attack.”
“One day the attack didn’t take place, the next, it was carried out by armed groups,” he said.
“A day later, it’s a Western manipulation. There’s no concern for either coherence or truth when it comes to sowing doubt and confusion.”
He reiterated France’s assertion that it has conclusive evidence of a chemical attack in Douma on April 7 as well as proof that it was carried out by the regime.