Middle East

Why Was The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Shut Down?

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Construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power in Iran was started in 1975 by German contractors; however, the work was stopped in 1979 after the revolution.

This plant was commissioned in 2011 after years of delays at a cost of $ 12 billion.

The facility has been shut down several times since its commissioning, and there have been discussions about its cost effectiveness.

Despite the high cost of construction, the contribution of this power plant to Iran’s electricity generation is reported as low as 2-2.4 percent.

The value of the electricity generated since its commissioning is estimated at $4 billion, at a production rate of one thousand megawatts.

On March 29, 2021, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced the possibility of closing Iran’s flagship nuclear facility.

Now, after nearly three months, we are witnessing this reality. What is the reason for this?

Less than 3 months ago Mahmoud Jafari, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that the Bushehr nuclear power plant may be shut down due to lack of foreign currency and spare parts.

Jafari attributed this to sanctions and problems with the transfer and supply of foreign exchange resources for purchase of spare parts from Russia.

Closure of Bushehr nuclear power plant

Finally, on Sunday, June 20, Gholam-Ali Rakhshani-Mehr, deputy distribution coordinator of the Tavanir company announced the Bushehr nuclear power plant went off the power grid on Saturday, June 19, and the country is expected to face widespread blackouts.

Contrary to previous explanations, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran stated the reason for the closure of Bushehr was a “technical problem”.

The shutdown will increase the number of blackouts in the coming days and weeks in Iran.

Recent blackouts have sparked criticism and protests against the Iranian government in some cities across the country.

Many citizens have been affected by repeated, sudden and unannounced power outages and no one has been held accountable.

Even some emergency centers, such as hospitals, have been affected by widespread power outages in the country.

Other electricity consumption in Iran

Due to the deterioration of the power grid in Iran, more than 10% of the generated electricity is wasted during the transmission and distribution phase.

Bitcoin mining with cheap electricity by institutions and organs affiliated with the regime has also made headlines in recent months.

It was recently announced the consumption rate of electricity to extract bitcoins is equal to half of Tehran’s consumption.

Technical or currency problems or …?

A while back, Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran had announced that despite owing several hundred million euros to Russia, they continue to provide assistance to the plant.

Some analysts attribute the closure of the Bushehr nuclear power plant to subversive offensive measures like what happened to Natanz.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Khatib Zadeh ruled out any non-technical problems with the closure of the Bushehr nuclear power plant but declined to give a specific reason.

According to Mahmoud Jafari’s warning on March 29, 2021 — if no immediate solution is found to solve the foreign currency problem and the annual purchase of parts and fuel, the production of the first unit of this power plant will most likely stop this year.

This begs the question — how are foreign funds available for development, purchase, and construction of advanced eighth and ninth generation centrifuges for Iran’s military nuclear program, but there is a problem to acquire foreign currency for the Bushehr plant, which provides essential electricity to Iranian citizens?!

This question can also be asked about the allocation of resources to the missile program and the regime’s proxy militias in other countries!

Is the regime reacting to sanctions?!

Currently, the closure of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is blamed on technical problems, but this is a clear contradiction with other regime officials and the lack of transparency of the Iranian government towards the Iranian people.

Another reason mentioned for the shutdown is the restriction on Iranian purchase of nuclear fuel from Russia, due to US sanctions.

Of course, this is very much the Iranian regime’s propaganda tool to put pressure on Western member countries of JCPOA by pretending that the sanctions have led to the closure of the Bushehr nuclear power plant causing citizens to face electricity shortages.

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