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Iran’s sole nuclear power plant undergoes emergency shutdown

by Mary Sewell

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s sole nuclear power plant has undergone an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown, state TV reported on Sunday. An official from the state electric company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show that the Bushehr plant shutdown began on Saturday and would last “for three to four days.”

Bushehr is fueled by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA acknowledged being aware of reports about the plant but declined to comment. Construction on Bushehr, on the coast of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf, began under Iran’s shah in the mid-1970s. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the plant was repeatedly targeted in the Iran-Iraq war. Russia later completed the construction of the facility. The plant, which sat near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful quakes, has been periodically shaken by temblors. There have been no significant earthquakes reported in the area in recent days.

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