Tuesday, March 20, 2007

State of Mis-Information (Russian Workers Leave Iranian Nuclear Site)

The news reported most of the 2,000 Russian workers at Iran’s 95 percent complete nuclear power plant left the country. While some remained, Russia pulled out its experts. The reason given is Iran’s failure to pay. The Iranian President insisted his country is up to date on its bills. So what’s the real story? Are the Russians worried about an attack? Do they want their nuclear experts safe to build plants in other areas around the world?

The Associated Press article stated the Bushehr plant is “not part of Iran's dispute with the U.N. Security Council and the reactor itself has no potential military use.” A little research turned up a different view on the almost complete Bushehr facility from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

Bushehr is not currently a major concern as long as it is open to intrusive IAEA inspections and the spent fuel is returned to Russia, but this arrangement may change in the future. Iran has stated that in the long term, it intends to produce its own fuel for Bushehr. Without consistent intrusive inspections and verifications, there is a potential proliferation problem if spent fuel rods from Bushehr can be diverted to secret undisclosed facilities for plutonium production. Once enough plutonium has been produced, Iran could build nuclear weapons in a short time.

The Bushehr plant stands a legitimate target for the U.S. or Israel, should either wish to conduct a pre-emptive strike. Why would the Associated Press state otherwise? And why did the Russian experts leave with the facility almost complete? They don’t want an international reputation of bailing on the job, unless it’s to live to build another day…

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