Skip to comments.Russia Ships Nuclear Reactor Body to Iran
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:26:58 PM PST by Willie Green
For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - The only Russian factory capable of making a complete nuclear reactor on Friday shipped its first reactor body to Iran, part of a project that has raised strong U.S. protests.
Officials presided over a ceremony at the Izhora factory in St. Petersburg dedicated to completion of the 317-ton, cylindrical reactor body for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.
``We are glad the three-year-long work on the reactor construction is over and thank the plant workers for their labor,'' said Mohammed Reza Zahertar, representative of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization.
Russia signed a contract in 1995 to build the first reactor at Iran's Bushehr power plant. It is to be completed by 2003 for an estimated $800 million.
Washington, which accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism, has urged Russia to abandon construction of the reactor, fearing Iran could use the nuclear technology to develop nuclear weapons. Moscow and Tehran say the plant will be used only for civilian purposes and will be under international control.
In the past, Washington has imposed sanctions against Russian companies accused of providing missile technology to Iran.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Thursday during a visit to the factory that his nation would sign a contract for a second reactor once the first is delivered, state-controlled ORT television reported. Khatami also toured Russian space mission control in Korolyov outside Moscow earlier this week, and expressed interest in buying both military and civilian aerospace technology.
I don't buy it. Not a breeder reactor. If the Ruskies and Iranians were only interested in civilian puropses one of there standard VVER light water reactors would suit the purpose. A hell of a lot cheaper than a breeder, more proven technology, and very very difficult and expensive to convert to military uses. And much easier for an inspector to spot hanky pankey. It would be near impossible to hide.
Nuclear and aerospace technology, sure, I believe that will only be used for civilian uses. (NOT).
"In a January 1995 nuclear cooperation accord, Russia agreed to provide Iran with one VVER-1000 reactor to be built at Bushehr...
While the type of reactor Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr is not ideal for producing fissile material for a weapons program, reactor grade plutonium can nonetheless be used to create a bomb (both France and the USSR used nuclear power plants to produce plutonium for their respective nuclear weapons programs). Pressurized water reactors are prodigious producers of plutonium, and though Russia has agreed to take back Iran's spent fuel, at any given time there is likely to be very large quantities of it in cooling pools in Iran, awaiting transport. A decision by Iran to violate its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations by using the spent fuel for bomb building could thus endow it with potentially large quantities of plutonium."
They are referring to it as a VVER reactor, not a breeder. Isn't that similar to the two that we were (as of 1999) building in N. Korea in exchange for them stopping their missile program?
With a VVER, producing bomb materials is much more problematic. They not only need to run the reactor in a very unproductive mode ( burning fuel at a much higher rate than what is necessary for power production) to get significant plutonium production but they would also need to build a very expensive and hard to hide fuel reprocessing facility to seperate the plutonium from the ceramic fuel pellets. There only only a few plants in the world that can do that.