The Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran was shut down temporarily because of a technical failure, the Tasnim news agency reported on Monday, citing the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
According to Tasnim, Iran’s Ministry of Energy was informed beforehand that the power plant would go off-grid, and the nuclear plant will be reconnected to the national grid within the next couple of days after fixing the problem, according to the AEOI.
Tavanir, the state electric company, issued a statement saying the shutdown would last “three to four days,” while the nuclear plant was being repaired. It promised the repair work would be concluded by June 25.
Construction of the Bushehr plant began by German companies in 1975, but the work was stopped in 1979 after the Islamist takeover of Iran. The site was bombed during the Iran–Iraq war, and in 1995, Iran signed a deal to construct the plant with the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy, employing Atomstroyexport as the main contractor.
The work was delayed for several years by technical and financial problems as well as Western political pressure on Russia. The plant was connected to the national grid in September 2011.
Bushehr is the first civilian nuclear power plant built in the Middle East. In November 2014, Iran and Russia signed an agreement to build two new nuclear reactors at the Bushehr site, with an option of six more at other sites later. Construction formally started in March 2017.
AP quoted two anonymous Russian diplomats who claimed that earthquakes in April and May 2013 had caused a big crack in a wall of at least one of the buildings on the Bushehr compound, but the building that contains the reactor core however showed no visible damage.
Bushehr is fueled by uranium that’s being produced in Russia, and the spent fuel rods are sent back to Russia. The facility is monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency.