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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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  • by omar.sahal (687649) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:18AM (#33330968) Homepage Journal
    What has Iran ever done to us
  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:52AM (#33331108)

    What has Iran ever done to us

          Read some history.

          While US foreign policy is far from perfect, Iran certainly has blood on its hands too. Playing innocent won't fool anyone. Let's start with the storming of the US embassy and hostage taking, and go from there, shall we?

  • by siwelwerd (869956) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:07AM (#33331192)
    That may have had just a little bit to do with us overthrowing their democratically elected government and installing a dictator of our choosing.
  • Re:Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:16AM (#33331244)

    While the plant does use low enrichment uranium, it produces among other things plutonium. And although not a breeder reactor to my knowledge, it still should produce enough plutonium every fuel cycle to make several bombs. Uranium enrichment to produce nuclear weapons is very difficult, plutonium extraction isn't. So all that is left of your argument is the Russian security over the fuel. If we were making this kind of deal with one of our allies would we be preventing them from obtaining nuclear weapons or would we covertly be helping them?

    I do find this news worrisome but they still have a ways to go before they actually have nuclear weapons and every step of the way can be thwarted either by covert action or by their own mistakes. Radiated fuel is not fun stuff to play with, and that alone will hopefully be enough of a deterrent.

  • by mrops (927562) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:42AM (#33331362)

    I am honestly hoping
    A) Iran is not as stupid as I hear in the media, however they keep their scary/crazy image.
    B) Iran gets nukes in the next few years

    A & B is the only way I see Israel sticking to UN resolution, stop their illegal settlements, stop their abuse and even the end of Hamas.

    Israel is not going to comply to UN demands with slap on the wrist it gets. It needs a regional power willing to fight for the other side instead of sticks and stones vs multimillion dollar weaponry.

    Having said that, I see balance of power between restored between Israel/Iran, however I can see Saudi's wanting nuke next, as the balance of power is severely lop sided there (except US may assure saudi's they are there for them.

    Nonetheless, IMO its going to be for better.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:59AM (#33331456) Homepage Journal

    First, I wish no one had the bomb, and the idea of a squirrelly state like Iran - or God forbid, North Korea - having one is enough to make me lose sleep. That said, under what moral or legal right do we get to say that they can't have one, other than that we don't like them? Is it our official policy that only our allies get nukes, and if so, do Russia and China have the same official policy with non-overlapping sets of allies?

    Again, I don't want Iran to have the bomb. I'm just curious about what doctrine or treaty gives us a say in the matter of whether a sovereign country gets to use a technology that we already have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:06AM (#33331494)

    What has Iran ever done to us

    This comment is disgusting. Don't speak about things when you are woefully ignorant.

    It's not always about what someone has done to you. What has Iran done in general? Why does it have to be about you? Where to start? Off the top of my head alone:

    1. Jailed, executed, and tortured large parts of its own population. See most recent political dissent via peaceful protests as an example.

    2. Forced a large part of its educated population to flee to places like the United States. Ever wonder why in places like NYC and LA there is a strong Iranian community? They're not coming here for the burgers generally.

    3. Operated numerous terrorist proxies, both at the organization and the state level. At the very least with a strong influence and funding. Examples include:
    -----Hezbollah - responsible for wars, executions, deaths, considered terrorist group by entire world almost.
    -----Lebanon - arguably a Syrian proxy, but Iran did a lot to destabilize this country for a long time and fund various terrorist groups inside.
    -----Hamas - the largest funder of Hamas, also considered by the world a terrorist group. Responsible for countless deaths through terrorist, not military attacks.
    -----Various ties to other groups including Islamic Jihad, Chechnya, Taliban, etc. at various points

    4. Ethnically cleansed or forcefully exiled various religious/social groups such as Jews. Violently against homosexuality, and certain haircuts (no, I am not joking).

    5. Actively called for the destruction of Israel and attempted to rally other muslim nations into war against Israel. This isn't a war of justice or even attrition but ambitious genocide. If any other nation was threatened in this manner, they'd steam roll their neighbor. I shudder to think if the US was threatened by a neighbor with nuclear ambitions what it would do. Pakistan is already enough of a problem for someone like India. You may not care, but it's things like this that bring as close to nuclear war in this age as we are going to get. Notice that another Islamic state already exists with this capability and already is a huge problem. Now look at the size of India vs. Israel and tell me why Israel cares. If you think Israel would use nukes without provocation, you are a moron. Things would be a lot easier for them now rather than to have to deal with this kind of bs.

    6. General rallying cry to nations and peoples that support violence and intolerance. These same people were literally dancing in the street and celebrating during terrorist attacks on many of your countries, for example September 11th.

    Iran has a long history of lying, cheating, aggression, oppression, intolerance, and militarism. It's used other countries and organizations to actively (key word) engage in violence in the modern world against sovereign states and ethnic groups. Other than North Korea, there are few countries that are run by greater lunatics looking to bring war and destruction. It's like something out of a bad 80s movie or cartoon. I highly doubt Iran just wants some protoculture.

    If you really want to know why a country like Iran should not have nuclear material of any kind, why don't you talk to educated and politically aware Indians, South Koreans, and Israelis. Maybe you should also talk to some Iraq veterans because of this kind of behavior keeps up, guess where they are headed next. I'm sorry to say but if you support Iran in any way, you're doing a disservice to the Iranian people, its neighbors, and the world. You make me sick.

  • by boxwood (1742976) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:08AM (#33331498)

    Putting the Sunnis in charge of Iraq wasn't an oversight, it was intentional. The Sunni sect is more moderate than the Shia and thus easier for the British to deal with.

    And Iraq is a Arab nation on the Tigris and Euphrates river system. Iran is a Persian nation. If you somehow combined the Shia part of Iraq with Iran, you'd end up with a nation with a Persian majority and an Arab minority.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:44AM (#33331698)

    While it could theoretically be done, this particular plant is not very useful for making bomb material.

    There are also thermodynamic issues that pretty much define a reactor as electric or plutonium producer. To generate Pu you need a high reaction rate which is easiest when the output temp is as low as possible = high coolant flow rate, but to generate electricity you need a high rate AND high output temperature. So a Pu plant wants as cool of a temp as possible (cheaper to maintain) and an electric plant wants as high of a temp as possible.

    One design constraint for electric plants is refueling and repair kills your output and ruins profitability. So the fuel rods spend some time in the reactor and cladding corrosion, and corrosion in general, is a big deal. Less surface area equals less corrosion. So electric reactor fuel rods tend to be a bit shorter and squatter to have minimum surface area.

    On the other hand Pu plants want the longest skinniest fuel rods they can manufacture because they need to keep the center of the rods below some material temperature limit. And the rods are only going to operate a little while in the reactor before being pulled and having the Pu extracted, so cladding/corrosion issues are kind of glossed over.

    Pu plant:
    skinny long fuel rods
    Freaking giant flow rate coolant pumps
    Everything built for low temperature
    "What, me worry?" toward cladding corrosion monitoring and the electrical gear in general

    Electric plant:
    Relatively shorter fatter fuel rods
    smaller coolant pumps
    everything built for high temperature
    Fancy ole cladding corrosion monitoring gear installed and used

    Its funny how the journalists think defining a plant as electric or Pu is just talk, but its really a pretty hard core engineering constraint that controls the whole design.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:53AM (#33331746)
    It amazes me how many U.S. citizens are ignorant of the violent, corrupt activities of the U.S. government. The violence is always for the profit of a few.

    In the case of the U.S. government overthrowing the democratically elected Premier of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddeq, the CIA was allowed to act in secret: [gwu.edu] "The CIA, with help from British intelligence, planned, funded and implemented the operation." The purpose was to insure huge profits for British Petroleum (Yes, that BP) [wikipedia.org], and U.S. oil companies.

    Quote from the Wikipedia article: "Overnight, the CIA became a central part of the American foreign policy apparatus, and covert action came to be regarded as a cheap and effective way to shape the course of world events"--a coup engineered by the CIA called Operation PBSUCCESS toppling the duly elected Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, which had nationalised farm land owned by the United Fruit Company, followed the next year."

    Military action so that U.S. investors can make more money has ever since been a central policy of the U.S. government. The families and friends of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had oil and weapons investments, so the U.S. military was used to get control of the oil in Iraq. That violence has made U.S. citizens much poorer, through taxes and inflation.
  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:23AM (#33331930)
    "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:29AM (#33331980)
    When it's the US, right-wingers bloviating this kind of stuff are "freem of speech" and heavily armed fruitcakes are "right to bear arms". Our PM suggests that the Pakistan Intelligence Agency is playing with both sides and that's a "gaffe", while US politicians say things every day that can be used to stir up most of the Middle East against them. We're supposed to know that when you write "nutjobs and mad mullahs" that's just free speech, but when they talk about the "Great Satan" that's a present danger.

    I personally think that Iran has a disgusting record on human rights, that it really needs to sort out its misogynistic patriarchy, and that the "Iranian Minister of Justice" is an oxymoron. But a state of the US is about to execute a woman with an IQ of 72 for allegedly plotting to kill her husband, and the chance of being executed for various offences in the US is directly linked to socioeconomic status and skin colour. Am I supposed to draw the same conclusions about the US?

  • by hitmark (640295) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:46AM (#33332064) Journal

    While my source material is limited, it seems the action was more related to loosing control over Iranian oil, and a fear of soviet expansionism, then any actual expansion in the region. During the time in question, more where done because of fear then actual threats from the soviets. In a way, the red scare of that time parallels the terrorist fear of today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @12:08PM (#33332178)

    Iran has never threatened to wipe Israel off the map, get your facts straight by maybe reading the actual transcript of that speech, not the half translated mess FOX played. They are a member of the NTP, they have every legal right to operate that reactor, they are NOT enriching uranium to the 90%+ needed for weapons, they are currently enriching to 2.5 (3.5?) for power use, and will ramp it up to 20% for medical isotopes. The IAEA inspections have always stated no weapons program since 2003. Iran is shipping spent fuel rods back to russia for processing so they can't get plutonium needed for bombs. Hell, they have even offered any country, including the US, to come in, help build and supervise the reactors, as well as offering to send the spent fuel wherever the hell they want it.

    Internal politics aside, Iran poses a threat to no one, and has yet to over step their NPT duties.

    Israel has a clandestine nuclear weapons program under the dimona reactor. Israel is NOT a member of the NPT. Israel refuses to allow IAEA inspections. Israel refuses to follow UN resolutions and sanctions. Israel continually and habitually attacks it's neighbors, claiming self defense while actually grabbing land. Israel has openly stated they will use their "sampson option" which means, even though they refuse to acknowledge or deny their nuclear weapons, means they will wipe most of europe, if not the entire world, out if they feel they are about to lose a conflict.

  • REMAIN CALMER (Score:4, Interesting)

    by copponex (13876) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @12:11PM (#33332204) Homepage

    The nation that just invaded two of your neighbors is threatening to invade. But don't try to come up with any sneaky way to defend yourself. Just remain calm while the Freedom Police check you for anything they don't approve of.

    I know if the Russians and Iran invaded Mexico and Canada, we'd just sit quietly and hope for the best. Right?

  • by Vahokif (1292866) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:47PM (#33332902)
    I'm from Hungary. We spoke Russian for 50 years anyway. Thanks America.
  • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:34PM (#33334294)

    I'm reading an interesting book called "Why I Am Not A Muslim" by Ibn Warraq. It's a very heady, lengthy read; it's almost like a series of essays by the same author. (I'm about 2/3 through on this read, and there's already been almost 600 footnotes.)

    In his book, he basically detailed a turning point in Muslim culture that was the ramp up to their version of the Enlightenment. The problem is that they decided to go the opposite way and crack down on "dangerous" schools of thought (primarily from Greece, like logic and philosophy) and end up essentially the same several hundred years later.

    Now we have the intrinsic problem of a society that is (in many place) at best 50-100 years behind the modern world, but with many modern conveniences and tools at their disposal. The common problem of too many unhappy people (mostly due to lack of things like food, clean water, money, etc. - the usual) along with cheap AK-47s and RPGs does not do a whole lot to help.

    Frankly, the best thing we could do in my opinion is push for greater civil rights through economic and diplomatic sanctions. Moreover, we can work to improve the infrastructure in countries that don't like us, but from a third party that is generally regarded as friendly to most of the Muslim world (United Arab Emirates, Turkey, etc.) It would be difficult but the only way there is ever going to be peace in the region is if there is clean water, reliable power and telecommunications, and a stable economy. Until that comes most of the Middle East is going to be stuck in the 1900s.

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