Chernobyl on the Gulf

Telegraph

Russian nuclear scientists are providing technical assistance to Iran’s attempts activate the country’s first nuclear power plant at the Gulf port.

But they have raised serious concerns about the extensive damage caused to the plant’s computer systems by the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which was discovered last year and is widely believed to have been the result of a sophisticated joint US-Israeli cyber attack.(…)

Russian scientists working at the plant have become so concerned by Iran’s apparent disregard for nuclear safety issues that they have lobbied the Kremlin directly to postpone activation until at least the end of the year, so that a proper assessment can be made of the damage caused to its computer operations by Stuxnet.

The Iranian government is bitterly opposed to any further delay, which it would regard as another blow to national pride on a project that is more than a decade behind schedule. While Western intelligence officials believe Iran’s nuclear programme is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, Iran insists the project’s goals are peaceful.

The Russian scientists’ report to the Kremlin, a copy of which has been seen by The Daily Telegraph, concludes that, despite “performing simple, basic tests” on the Bushehr reactor, the Russian team “cannot guarantee safe activation of the reactor”.

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