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Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant 496

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-the-good-times-roll dept.
pickens writes "VOA reports that Russian and Iranian engineers have begun loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant located in the southern city of Bushehr amid international fears that Iran will use the facility to make nuclear weapons, a charge both Tehran and the Kremlin vehemently deny. Officials say it will take about two to three months for the plant to start producing electricity once all of the fuel rods have been moved into the reactor. The production capacity of the plant will initially be 500 megawatts, but will eventually increase to 1,000 megawatts. Earlier this year, Washington criticized Russia for going ahead with the planned opening of the plant amid global disagreement and concern over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Moscow did, however, back a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran, which called for Iran to stop uranium enrichment."
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Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant

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  • Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:21AM (#33330986) Journal

    There are not international concerns over this plant. It requires uranium enriched by 3% (well below the 90% required for weapons grade material) and is operated by the Russians, who are both providing and disposing of the fuel. There are no proliferation concerns over this.

    The concerns are over the other reactor, officially designated for medical research, which requires uranium enriched to 20%, which some see as the first step towards a breeder reactor for providing fuel for nuclear weapons.

  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kjella (173770) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:40AM (#33331054) Homepage

    It's a plant in Iran also operated by many Iranians. How about for example siphoning off a little material and blame it on reactor inefficiency? 3% enriched uranium isn't exactly a commodity good, if they get a weapons program going they could secretly have a lot more nukes than anyone expects. So risk-free is probably exaggerating.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:2, Informative)

    by omidaladini (940882) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:49AM (#33331088)

    It's not a nuclear plant. It's just a bunch of camels running on treadmills.

    But there aren't that many camels in Iran, despite the cliché that people have in mind.

  • by omar.sahal (687649) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:50AM (#33331096) Homepage Journal

    They, along with Syria, are (allegedly) a major source of funding and weapons for Hezballah

    According to Noam Chomsky Israel was also a supporter of a similar group called Hamas in its early days. This was to combat fatah. What's going on here is the polity don't really care about who they support as long as it furthers their aims.
    Our polity views conflict as an opportunity to be exploited. An example would be Turkey, in 1996 there was an assault on Kurdish communities in the south. 30000 villages were bombed and there were 1 million refugees. The American government responded by making Turkey the number one country to receive US aid, war is profitable. This is not an isolated incident if your an ally them your crimes are hidden. Saudi Arabia is like Iran a middle eastern theocratic state with human rights issues and [even greater] involvement in international affairs (particularly in the Muslim world). Why are Iran sanctioned and not Saudi, is it just oil. Look at Syria and Jordan both are next to each other (Arabs call this region the Sham because of cultural similarities between their Arabs who live there) both are secular states, both are oppressive regimes, one is on the terror list the other is ignored by the media and given aid.

  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by tokul (682258) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:55AM (#33331120)

    Plus isn't this "state of the art" plant something the Russians started building for them almost 40 years ago?
    So its a big ass junk heap, hopefully its not the same design as Chernobyl.

    Germans started it. Some country a little bit closer to US than Russia.

    Bushehr should have three VVER-1000/446 type reactors. Pressurized water reactor. Negative void coefficient
    Chernobyl had four RBMK-1000. Same power, but graphite-moderated reactor. Positive void coefficient

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Void_coefficient

    Although considering that reactor was built by three different contractors for over 45 years, it is still German/Iranian/Russian junk heap.

  • Re:Let's see (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:00AM (#33331160)

    he mentions wiping a nearby country off the map.

          I see you're going for the exaggerated sensationalist translation, rather than the factually correct one "this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."

          This is what happens when you let other people think for you. Iran's foreign policy is by no means sweet and innocent. But then again neither is US foreign policy. Remember the US doesn't just talk about removing regimes, it actually does it (or tries to). Grenada, Liberia, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq... and these are the obvious ones - the ones we actually know about.

  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:06AM (#33331190)

    Not likely.

    To siphon off some uranium you'll need to disassemble 'hot' fuel rods, chemically separate uranium, and then reassemble rods again. It's unlikely Russians won't notice that a lot of their rods are missing. It's far easier for Iran to use existing uranium enrichment facilities.

    Besides, this reactor is a light-water type. It can never be used to breed plutonium.

  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Informative)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:25AM (#33331280) Journal

    Nobody is concerned about the FUEL for these reactors. Everyone and their dog (well, only the Saudis, generally all the Sunni states, the Europeans, Israel and the USA) worry about the possibility to produce Plutonium 239 from the spent fuel.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:35AM (#33331328)

    "Right now, we're just dealing with karma of past actions by our government.

    If we kept our noses out of others business, the World would probably be a much different place and there would be less hatred towards us."

    It's sad that so few Americans understand this.

    Yes, the world would be different. It is a pity that you've lost the context of why these interventions occurred. It is no secret that the Soviet Union was actively destabilizing and/or annexing nearby countries. This started under Stalin before the US even tried to intervene or push back. The US policy in Iran, Cuba, and other places was hamfisted, there is no doubt. But the strategy was containment and it worked. While the Soviet Union continued to destabilize countries until its dissolution, the rate of destabilization rapidly decreased from the 60s onwards. The installation of puppet governments and outright annexations also decreased.

    I don't know if you are arguing against (or even acknowledging) the US policy of containment or whether you think that the US should have been smarter and less abusive during the implementation of containment. The former case would be foolhardy since the Soviet Union needed puppet governments that they could rob to keep their economy going. Soviet expansion would have continued until another World War broke out. The latter case is an understandable argument, but it really doesn't do us any good now (and it is just Monday morning quarterbacking).

  • Re:Let's see (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:01AM (#33331788)

    I see you're going for the exaggerated sensationalist translation, rather than the factually correct one "this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."

    So, how exactly do you go about changing the "occupying regime" in Israel without removing (alive or dead) the Jews that currently live there.

    Your "correct translation" is disingenuous at best.

  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Informative)

    by michael_cain (66650) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:26AM (#33331954) Journal

    Besides, this reactor is a light-water type. It can never be used to breed plutonium.

    Any reactor running on moderately enriched uranium breeds plutonium. In a commercial reactor running on low-enriched uranium, about 40% of the energy produced is from bred plutonium that is "burned" in place. Japan currently has a stockpile of over 43 tons of plutonium, all separated from spent fuel extracted from commercial light-water reactors.

    There are a number of things you could have said instead that would have been correct. Commercial light-water reactors are poorly designed for producing weapons-grade plutonium. The fuel typically stays in the reactor too long, so too much Pu-240 is produced relative to the Pu-239, separation of the plutonium from the fuel rods is difficult (as you note), there's no separate way to do short-term exposure of a U-238 target to the neutron flux, etc. Building weapons from reactor-grade plutonium is more complex than using weapons-grade material, but the problems are recognized and solutions have been worked out.

    But can't be used to breed plutonium? Just wrong.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:35AM (#33332006)

    "Bullshit. Defending yourself is a completely different scenario."

    Better take a closer look at why we went to war.

    US intervention by petroleum and scrap iron embargo in behalf of the Kuomintang (our public, especially missionaries, were Sinophiles at the time) forced the Japs to choose between fight or caving in. The attack at Pearl was "provoked" by the standards of the time, but failure to get the declaration of war delivered in time backfired on Hirohito. The US had been helping kill Japanese (Flying Tigers ring a bell? Great unit, but it bears reminding that they were mercs!) in substantial numbers well before December 7th.

    The US was shipping war materiel to England and taking part as a belligerent. We were killing front-line German naval personnel while shipping ordnance and food to their opponents.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with all that. It's Big Boy politics, not effeminate hand-wringing. that gets shit done. I do take exception to pretending the truth never happened. If we can get comfortable with truth, we can act without Politically Correct pretense.

    As to Russia, the US tried to overthrow the Bolsheviks and established itself as a threat to them at the start of their revolution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entente_intervention_in_the_Russian_Civil_War [wikipedia.org]

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:43AM (#33332048)

    Yes, because friendly fire generally consists of several runs by torpedo boats and attack aircraft on a registered ship under flag in international waters... Check the chapter on it in 'Body of Secrets' by James Bamford, who is a former Navy intelligence analyst and has written several books about the NSA. Also, check some of the first-hand accounts by the sailors who were on the ship.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @12:47PM (#33332444)
    Citation needed
  • by BradMajors (995624) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:12PM (#33332612)

    Iran has never threatened to wipe any country off the map. This accusation has already been proven false multiple times.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:22PM (#33332700) Homepage Journal

    Correction.... only one country was intelligent enough to use it in a strategic manner that aided their cause and ultimately ensured world peace. And the willingness to use that weapon if provoked should be apparent too.

    What make me upset is that "mutual assured destruction" is no longer a part of U.S. foreign policy, where the current president will simply say "opps, I hope you really didn't mean that" if some American city is left as a smoldering ruin. The pure knowledge that any nuclear attack against America would result in the complete nuclear destruction of that country which made the attack was at least in the past sufficient to stop idiots from going too far and surprisingly even offered a bit of a respite for the rest of the world in terms of active warfare. That is no longer the case and in fact the world is going to be far worse off as a result.

    Time will tell, and I suppose that is the ultimate test of these political theories. I just hate to be proven correct in this instance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:53PM (#33332956)

    mr. a-members-only-jacket doesn't wield much power. the security apparatus, the army, the someday-nukes, they're all in the hands of the supreme council and the ayatollah. who is a pretty shrewd guy.

    iran may have a president who's crazier than a shithouse rat, but you have to look deeper to see what the country as a whole will do.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:04PM (#33333050)
    Wow. No, they have never said they'd get weapons, let alone use them. Also, an Ayatollah decreed a Fatwa against ever using nuclear weapons. So no, the scariest thing is how you can be so fucking dense when it comes to current affairs. These are not secrets. This is established fact. God you're dumb.
  • by Samy Merchi (1297447) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:28PM (#33333698) Homepage

    Err, citation needed. As far as I'm aware, Ahmadinejad has very consistently claimed that they are only pursuing civilian nuclear energy, not military nuclear bombs to attack other countries.

    If you've got some proof that Iran is saying it's planning to attack other countries with nuclear bombs, I'd sure like to hear it. Otherwise, I call your bullshit.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:34PM (#33334298) Homepage

    Uhm ... not quite.

    You're the revisionist here. Google "molotov ribbentrop" and read up on a bit of history preceding it. You do know that nazi translates to socialist, right ? Why wouldn't they have been allies ?*

    It is a proven historical fact that the USSR knew beforehand about Hitler's invasions (including dates), and supported the attacks (or at least did nothing to stop them). Furthermore the USSR knew beforehand of the endlosung and even helped Nazi intelligence with it.

    Wikipedia's take [wikipedia.org]. Note the mention of "territorial and political rearrangements", in a secret part of the treaty.

    But hey, what's a bit of lying when it's to demonize the US ? Let's chalk up your statement to be "fake but accurate", right ? Also known as lying and deceiving for political ends. Hey isn't that exactly what you accuse (but fail to prove in a big way) your opponents of ?

    * I know of course, that you're intention is to demonize the right, even knowing full well that all genocides of the 20th century were committed by people who self-identified as "socialists", and professed policies (ie. government control of the economy) that are clearly leftist. Oh right you self-identify as socialist, so of course you want to deny that blatant fact of history. And we're to accept that they are the complete opposite of you, that they really were *shudder* republikans. Any history that conflicts with that view is to be discarded as "revisionist". Oh please.

    Well according to the leftist propagandist Goebbels this is actually a very good tactic. Especially if you have some thugs and guns behind it. There's nothing new about lefties using those fascist and communist tactics, of course, they were invented, and remain the near-exclusive domain, of the left.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:38PM (#33335592)

    You're the revisionist here. Google "molotov ribbentrop" and read up on a bit of history preceding it.

    Bullshit. The pact had to do with invasion of Poland in 1939 and mutual "non aggression" and was a ploy by Hitler to keep the Soviet Union away until he was ready to attack. It was signed in 1939 mere weeks before attack on Poland.

    You do know that nazi translates to socialist, right ? Why wouldn't they have been allies ?*

    Because, you revisionist idiot, the "Socialist" in NSDAP had as much to do with "communist" in the Soviet system as the "People's Republic" in the name had to do with democracy in North Korea or Saddam's Iraq. Stalin and Hitler were both authoritarian ass-hats who hated each other but Hitler was keen on big business, aristocracy and wealth while Stalin was using "communism" as his shtick for power and control. Subsequently the first people persecuted during the rise of Nazis to power in Germany were ... communists and amongst Hitler's most admiring supporters were names such as multi-millionaires like Krupp and Ford (Hitler even passed special laws [wikipedia.org] just for his best super-rich buddies). The last remnants of any kind of "socialism" in the NSDAP were gotten rid of in the "night of the long knives" [wikipedia.org] where the brown-shirt worker "rabble" of the SA was dealt with via bullets to their heads. And that was in 1934.

    But hey, what's a bit of lying when it's to demonize the US ?

    Speaking of lies, the words "US" are nowhere present in my comment to which you are replying. Projection much?

    I know of course, that you're intention is to demonize the right, even knowing full well that all genocides of the 20th century were committed by people who self-identified as "socialists",

    Yes, particularly the Emperor Hirohito (that well known socialist rabble rouser) and the US "lefties" who dropped some nukes in his backyard and burned a few hundred thousand people alive. Then there were of course those "socialists" who killed 3 million people in Vietnam via copious use of the B52s, napalm and M16s...

    In short, you are complete idiot and any discussion with you is not likely to lead anywhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:05PM (#33335792)

    This is what happens when you let other people think for you. Iran's foreign policy is by no means sweet and innocent. But then again neither is US foreign policy. Remember the US doesn't just talk about removing regimes, it actually does it (or tries to). Grenada, Liberia, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq... and these are the obvious ones - the ones we actually know about.

    American Indians, Japanese (Internment camps), Blacks, Invaded Canada, Annexed Texas from Mexico, etc. Yes the protestant white America has done much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:18PM (#33336852)

    Australia. Where do I collect my prize?

  • Re:Remain Calm! (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 23, 2010 @02:58AM (#33337912) Journal

    Wow, you gotta pass around what you're smoking, that seems like some good stuff. Russia INVADED Georgia.

    Russia invaded several border towns in Georgia (and then retreated) after Georgian troops indiscriminately shelled and then invaded [wikipedia.org] the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali - targeting strictly civilian objects - and, as an aside, deliberately placing several shells on the barracks of Russian peacekeepers, killing and wounding many. NATO, OSCE and EU [wikipedia.org] are all in agreement that Georgian forces were the first to invade South Ossetia (before any Russian troops other than peacekeepers entered Ossetia, much less any other part of Georgia), and the first to fire shots.

    A step aside for some background. The relationship of South Ossetia vs Georgia is quite similar to that of Kosovo and Serbia. When Georgia declared its independence from Soviet Union, it did so within the borders of Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic - which included Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Shortly afterwards, Georgian leader at the time, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, announced the "Georgia for the Georgians" [wikipedia.org] policy - Georgia was to become a monoethnic nation-state, with Ossetians and Abkhazians to be partly expulsed and partly assimilated. Naturally, this didn't fly well with either of those peoples, so they in turn declared independence from Georgia. In both cases Georgia tried to retain control by force - for South Ossetia, this was the 1991-1992 war [wikipedia.org], which ended up with Georgia withdrawing without admitting defeat, and Ossetia declaring independence which was not internationally recognized (due to Georgia not recognizing it), but maintaining it de facto for 16 years by 2008.

    Now, imagine a hypothetical scenario: Serbian troops - need I remind that Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo? - declares the intent to "enforce its territorial integrity", invades Kosovo, and indiscriminately shells Prishtina, killing numerous civilians. They also do several aimed artillery strikes at KFOR peacekeepers stationed in the city. What would be the reaction of US and other NATO members to that?

    Well, let's see In 1998, Serbia was subjected to bombings that were much more severe than anything Russia did in Georgia in 2008, for doing exactly the same thing that Georgians did - an attack on a de facto independent state to forcibly annex it. Unlike Georgians, Serbs didn't attack any international peacekeeping force while doing so, either. And yet NATO operation involved deliberate strikes on primarily civilian objects that were classed as "dual use" by NATO military, such as railroad bridges - with some messy results [wikipedia.org].

    On the whole, all Russian bombings and invasion of Georgia resulted in 228 civilian casualties (according to Georgia); whereas Serbian civilian casualties in NATO bombings of 1998 number ~500 according to NATO itself, and over 1000 according to Serbia. So, even taking the most favorable figures, NATO response to Serbian invasion of Kosovo was twice as strong as Russian response to Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. So much for "disproportionate", I guess.

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