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Published July 22, 2013 04:52 PM

Did Earthquake damage Iranian Nuclear Power Plant?

Arab Gulf states have raised concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power station built in an earthquake-prone coastal area.

The concerns about the Bushehr plant, which officially opened in 2011, were raised during a meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, last month (3-7 June).

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The reactor lies on the north-east coast of the Arabian Gulf. Any leak of radioactive material could therefore affect coastal regions of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman's Musandam Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had already raised the issue after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Bushehr Province in south-west Iran on 9 April.

Farouk El-Baz Within a week, national emergency officials of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic alliance between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, met in Saudi Arabia to discuss the risk of radiation spreading over the Arabian Gulf if the Bushehr plant is damaged by another earthquake.

But Mohammad Ahmadian, the deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, dismissed the concerns in a TV interview on the day of the meeting.

Photo credit IAEA.

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