Russian officials issued a statement today attempting to explain the sudden shutdown of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, a Russian-built plant that was supposed to be the first in a series of power plants across Iran that would free up more oil for export.
According to the statement, one of the cooling pumps is damaged and has metal debris inside of it. Though experts say that this is not a safety problem, if the plant was operated in this condition it would significantly reduce the reactor’s lifespan.
Iran announced over the weekend that they were removing the fuel from the plant for unspecified “technical work,” which is a major setback for the plant, whose addition to the national electricity grid has been slowed markedly.
The Russian statement insisted the problem was a function of high pressure operation during some of the tests. It remains to be seen if the problem is related to the Stuxnet computer worm, or is simply a problem of workmanship.