News Analysis: Safety concerns behind fuel withdrawal from Iran's nuclear power plant

08:44, March 02, 2011      

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by Xinhua writers Du Yuanjiang, He Guanghai

Serious safety concerns may have led to the latest withdrawal of nuclear fuel from the core of the reactor at Iran's Bushehr power plant, hindering an imminent launch, analysts say.

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Saturday announced the fuel placed inside the reactor would be temporarily removed so that a number of tests could be run on the plant, four months after Iran celebrated the loading of fuel into the reactor.

He said Iran has always given priority to the safety of the plant.

Although Iranians didn't provide more details about the cause behind the removal, observers say Iranians fear unexpected risks and accidents similar to those that hit a number of nuclear plants across the world in the past including the Soviet plant Chernobyl.

Meanwhile, some analysts believe the reason behind the fuel removal could be the alleged cyber attack that caused serious damage to the plant's system and made Iranians reluctantly withdraw the fuel from the reactor -- a hypothesis Iran denied.

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