Will Iran Be the Next Chernobyl?

(Fox News) The first Iranian nuclear power station is inherently unsafe and will probably cause a "tragic disaster for humankind," according to a document passed to The (London) Times attributed to a former member of the legal department of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. It claims that the Bushehr reactor, which began operating last month, was built by "second-class engineers" who bolted together Russian and German technologies from different eras; that it sits in one of the world's most seismically active areas but could not withstand a major earthquake; and that it has "no serious training program" for staff or a contingency plan for accidents. Bushehr was started in 1975 when the Shah of Iran awarded the contract to Kraftwerk Union of Germany. The Germans pulled out after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The reactor sustained serious damage in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 from airstrikes. The regime revived the project in the 1990s with Russian experts who wanted to start from scratch. The Iranians, having already spent more than $1 billion, insisted they build on the German foundations. This involved adapting a structure built for a vertical German reactor to take a horizontal Russian reactor. Of the 80,000 pieces of German equipment, many had become corroded or obsolete. "The Russian parts are designed to standards that are less stringent than the Germans' and they are being used out of context in a design where they are exposed to inappropriate stresses," the document says.

2011-10-07 00:00:00

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