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Iran To 'Remove Fuel' From Bushehr Nuclear Plant 240

Posted by timothy
from the ha-ha-biff-stuxnet-ha-ha-that's-rich dept.
mangu writes "Iran said on Saturday it is removing the fuel from the reactor of a Russian-built nuclear power plant, a move seen as a big blow to its controversial nuclear program. The plant was first launched by the shah using contractors from Siemens. It was shelved after the Islamic revolution and it lay unfinished through the 1980s. In the early 1990s, Iran sought help for the project after being turned away by Siemens over nuclear proliferation concerns. In 1994, Russia agreed to complete the plant and provide the fuel, with the supply deal committing Iran to returning the spent fuel. The plant has faced hiccups even after its physical launch, with officials blaming the delays in generating electricity on a range of factors, including Bushehr's 'severe weather.' But they deny it was hit by the malicious Stuxent computer worm which struck industrial computers in Iran, although they acknowledge that the personal computers of some personnel at Bushehr were infected with it."
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Iran To 'Remove Fuel' From Bushehr Nuclear Plant

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  • israel needs to dismantle them and provide a reason for iran to not want them. They cannot have it both ways
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Whateverz. Facts: srael has never threatened to destroy Iran and recognizes Iran as a legitimate country. Iran does not recognize Israel as legitimate and *routinely* threatens to "wipe the Zionist Entity from the face of the Earth". Iran with bombs is not a direct danger. There are so many factions within the Iranian government there is a decent chance that if they had nukes that they would make their way to either Hezbollah or Hamas - either of which is crazy enough to use them. This gives 'plaustible den
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Dan667 (564390)
        israel is crazy enough to use nukes. better stop them before they do, right?
      • by gambino21 (809810) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @01:35AM (#35328710)

        Israel has never threatened to destroy Iran

        You sure about that?

        http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,133899,00.html [foxnews.com]

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7440472.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        http://peoplesworld.org/coincidence-israeli-palestinian-talks-to-open-israel-threatens-iran-attack/ [peoplesworld.org]

        And of course the US has made similar threats against Iran:

        http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/06/05/hunter-giuliani-on-using-nukes-against-iran/ [cnn.com]

        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/10/ftn/main2908476.shtml [cbsnews.com]

        But IMO, actions speak louder than words. Israel has invaded several countries within the last 50 years, when was the last time Iran invaded anyone? More than 100 years ago? With that said, I don't believe Iran should have nuclear weapons, but I believe it's hypocritical of Isreal and the US to keep a large stockpile of long range nuclear missiles while beating the war drums about how "dangerous" Iran is and that we need to invade them, and expect them to not try to defend themselves.

        • by Apuleius (6901)

          Iran has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan well within recent memory.

      • It's President spouting populist bullshit is not in charge. Most of the "death to zion" crap is to try to get the Arab nations on side and was to try and increase the President's popularity so that he could get some real power.
        I'd say the nukes were planned for places a bit closer than Israel. Iran would get almost nothing from an attack on Israel apart from an empty thank you from Syria and a schizophrenic reaction of both gratitude and extreme hostility from Lebanon.
        • by gtall (79522)

          You ignore the nascent civil war between the Shia and the Sunnis. In my opinion, Iran's leaders believe if they are the ones to knock off Israel, they will get a leg up on determining which is true Islam. Your opinion may differ.

      • by kill-1 (36256)

        Iran does not recognize Israel as legitimate and *routinely* threatens to "wipe the Zionist Entity from the face of the Earth".

        The "wipe from the face of Earth" thing simply isn't true [wikipedia.org].

  • Awful, rambling summary. Why is removing fuel from Bushehr "seen as a big blow to its controversial nuclear program"?
    • Awful, rambling summary. Why is removing fuel from Bushehr "seen as a big blow to its controversial nuclear program"?

      SPOILER ALERT! Read TFA SPOILER ALERT!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wmac (1107843)

      Exactly. Removing (possibly some of the rods or even all of them) for safety and maintenance is not something that never happened in other reactors. It is something that happens frequently in the world.

  • Seriously, maybe Slashdot should change it's title to "News from yesterday, stuff that might still matter".

    I realize Slashdot isn't a news site, but seeing news or stories about things that happened days or weeks ago is a little ridiculous.

    -rt

  • http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/First%20Watch/perspex-fwi-plutoniumprocessing-0304.htm [iranwatch.org]

    They'd need a reprocessing facility, and some way to handle undesirable concentrations of Pu-240, which decays by spontaneous fission and complicates bomb design.

    • Like one of the secret facilities they are so adept at keeping from the IAEA? There were new underground facilities being constructed that remained undetected for a long time. If these facilities were for civilian energy needs (perfectly legitimate IMHO) then why bury them and hide them from IAEA inspection (since the inspectors would easily be able to see they were for civilian use or not, which would confirm the sites as being for peaceful purposes).
      • by makomk (752139)

        If these facilities were for civilian energy needs (perfectly legitimate IMHO) then why bury them and hide them from IAEA inspection

        To make it harder for Israel to drop a bomb on them, perhaps? You know, like it's been threatening to do for years, has gone so far as to plan out in detail and try and get US permission for, and has done before to Syria.

      • For the same reason that Saddam was refusing to allow weapons inspectors in. Iran is surrounded by hostile neighbours. It's a persian state, with mostly arabic neighbours. Actually using nuclear weapons would be a political impossibility for Iran - not least because it shares a border with all of the potential targets and the fallout would be as bad for them as for the enemy. However, appearing to have the capability to launch a nuclear strike is a pretty good deterrent against an attack - they probably

        • So who is gonna invade Iran today? Iraq with Saddam gone for the last 8 years? Turkey? Afghanistan? Russian? Israel? Your argument just doesn't hold water I'm afraid. If Iran wanted to be stronger it would try and have better relations with arms producers (eg. Russia, France etc) and would be stronger. It is far better to have stronger conventional forces you can actual use rather than some hypothetical or actual nuke you can't - and the Iranians are smart enough to know this. Iran threatening Israel is a d
    • by Hartree (191324)

      Short of doing a difficult isotope separation on the Pu, I'd be quite surprised if they were able to make use of power reactor Pu for bomb production. The British and the US both did some testing toward that in the 50s and concluded it was impractical. It's far easier to set up a reactor with a neutron energy cross section that limits the amount of heavier Pu isotopes.

      This is why the US and other countries were willing to build light water power reactors for North Korea, as the Pu would be difficult to dive

  • i don't care about israel. israel doesn't matter: iran shouldn't have nukes because it is a theocracy. it believes in power invested in some grumpy old men who are believed to have a sort of monopoly on the interpretation of the will of god. this is not the kind of person i want with a nuclear weapon

    this is the constitution of iran:

    1- General Principles
    Article 1

    The form of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic, endorsed by the people of Iran on the basis of their longstanding belief in the sovereignty of truth and Qur'anic justice, in the referendum of Farwardin 9 and 10 in the year 1358 of the solar Islamic calendar, corresponding to Jamadi al-'Awwal 1 and 2 in the year 1399 of the lunar Islamic calendar (March 29 and 30, 1979], through the affirmative vote of a majority of 98.2% of eligible voters, held after the victorious Islamic Revolution led by the eminent marji' al-taqlid, Ayatullah al-Uzma Imam Khumayni.

    Article 2

    The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:

    1.the One God (as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah"), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands;
    2.Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;
    3.the return to God in the Hereafter, and the constructive role of this belief in the course of man's ascent towards God;
    4.the justice of God in creation and legislation;
    5.continuous leadership (imamah) and perpetual guidance, and its fundamental role in ensuring the uninterrupted process of the revolution of Islam; ...

    http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/government/constitution-1.html [iranonline.com]

    you want a government who believes these things in possession of a nuclear weapon?

    and please, don't get me wrong: i don't have any problems with islam. if this document was centered on christianity or judaism i would have the same repulsion. i have problem with religious power structures, period. some religious kooks who think some invisible mahdi dude will reappear at armageddeon, with freaking NUCLEAR BOMB?! self-fulfilling prophecy? hello?

    no, no fucking thanks, no nuke for iran

    again: i don't care about israel. i have no problem with islam. i simply have a major serious problem with religious kooks possessing a nuclear bomb. NO THANK YOU

    and please, i don't want any asshole lecturing me about false equivalency: that it's the same as pakistan, or israel, or the usa, or whatever: no, it isn't really the same. iran is EXPLICITLY a theocracy. A THEOCRACY. do you understand that? it really is different than saying "well gw bush is religious". yeah, good for him. but the fucking government he is part of isn't based on the fucking pope or some rabbi holding all ultimate power. that difference is real

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)
      The problem with nukes is that you don't want anybody else to have them. They should be limited to the 'right thinking folk'. While I am perfectly happy to agree with you that power mad theocracy's are not good candidates for nuclear weapons, lets look around:

      Russia - which a decade ago imploded and nearly lost control (or perhaps has lost control) of nuclear weapons which cost us hundreds of millions of dollars to get under some degree of temporary security.

      Pakistan - a nominally secular country in t
      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @12:18AM (#35328388)

        I think we should give them all to Canada.

        What? They'll change the pronunciation to 'noookes' and we'll never be able to get that voice out of our heads ... not to mention they'll eventually name a hockey team after them.

      • no, we don't give them to canada

        and no, its not ok for the usa to have them either. or france. or anyone

        no one really deserves nukes. no regime is fit for them in my eyes

        however, there is definitely a sliding scale of regimes who have nukes, and if you put canada on the top of your scale, you have to agree, iran falls down on the low end. so where do you draw the line between "i'm uncomfortable with this" and "no fucking way"

        • by ipb (569735)

          ...
          there is definitely a sliding scale of regimes who have nukes, and if you put canada on the top of your scale, you have to agree, iran falls down on the low end. so where do you draw the line between "i'm uncomfortable with this" and "no fucking way"

          Right below Canada.

        • Oh cool. So, lets have the west drop ours and then I am sure that we can get Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, shortly Burma (who is getting massive help on a 'medical' reactor that is buried 100' in the ground by China and North Korea) and in about 5 years Venezuela to drop all of theirs just by asking them to.

          I am sure that is how things work in your world.
      • by thePig (964303) <rajmohan_h.yahoo@com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:33AM (#35328872) Journal

        India - a nominally democratic country that has nucs so it can ward off Pakistan.

        I guess you are using nominally - as - existing on name only - right?

        From this sentence, I take it that you have never been to India - and dont even really know about it. There are many negatives for India, but being non-democratic is not one of them.

        Democracy is the most important thing in our collective psyche. And when people kick your country down on the biggest thing it believes, due to their ignorance - it really really feels bad.

        • by boxwood (1742976)

          Yeah I'd say India was much more democratic than the US, given all the anomalies (hanging chads?) in recent US elections, and all the influence of special interests in US politics.

      • It's different because religious zealots are more likely to be suicidal. As evil as the Soviets were, at least they wanted to live. The didn't believe that a bearded dude handed out rewards in an afterlife for holy warfare victories. The Iranian theocrats may decide it's "worth it" to take us out even if it means they die.

        I suppose they could possibly argue the same about the far right in the US. However, Christianity does not have a significant history of suicidal martyrdom (at least not intentional).

        • by tigersha (151319)

          > It's different because religious zealots are more likely to be suicidal

          They believe in an eternal afterlife, which means suicide brings you to your 72 virgins and happiness everlasting. That is the difference. They are not more suicidal, the consequences are just not quite the same.

          >As evil as the Soviets were,

          Marxism is a secular religion.

          Holy prophets? Check.
          Prophets have beards? Check.
          A holy book? Check
          A promise of nirvana? Check.
          Belief that the infidel needs to be tamed or brought into the fold?

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:03AM (#35328788) Journal

      Hi circletimessquare! I hate ta break the news to you but guess what our mid east policies are based on? Ready? "Jesus won't come back!". Yep, fraid so, wish I was kidding, sadly not. I live next to a heavily conservative college that donates to the right wing and gets many movers and shakers to lecture there, and I'm afraid that is pretty much it.

      So I hate to tell you that while I agree that Iran is batshit, sadly when it comes to religion our leaders are just as batshit as they are. I mean when you base your foreign policy for an entire region, as well as give away BILLIONS of dollars you don't have to a country that routinely tells us to go fuck ourselves in return, all because some text written on a sheep's ass by goat herders half a world away 20 centuries plus ago says that if we don't a two thousand year dead man won't have a place to park his fluffy cloud?

      I'm sorry but that is seriously fucked up and the fact that we prop up monsters like in Egypt just because they will play ball with "the chosen people" according to a sheepskin just means they have EVERY reason to hate us. Personally we should tell them "good luck!" and pack up our shit and go home. I have a feeling Israel wouldn't act like giant pricks if they knew they couldn't snap their fingers and have the USA cut them a check or send them some killer weapons tech.

      Of course one thing you have to give them credit for is their skills in propaganda. I mean nobody in power dares say shit about Israel for fear of being labeled a Nazi loving antisemitic. Doesn't matter if their policies make things ever worse, or what they do to the Arabs, you say a word you'll be called antisemitic before you even set the mike down. Gotta give them credit where credit is due, and they are damned good at playing that card.

      • Actually in one war Israel could see Egyptian preparations and launched a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian airbases. The US did not like this and did not supply ammo. Israel learnt from this and developed its own arms industry as a result. Now their arms industry is more advanced in many areas than the US (who do you think designs the lasers, helmet-mounted sights, robots and even Intel CPUs that the US uses? thanks to their very high output of scientists). So, while you "Monroe Doctrine" approach sounds
        • by boxwood (1742976)

          And add to that the intel the US gets from Israel and all the data about how to effectively combat asynchronous warfare tactics. This data is a lot more useful to the US if Israel is using the same weapons that the US uses.

          And of course the dirty little secret of the Middle East is that most countries there like Israel. This has been confirmed by wikileaks. Israel actually does make the Middle East more stable and more democratic. Even Syria and Iran probably like having Israel around if only to distract th

        • by Apuleius (6901)

          "Actually in one war Israel could see Egyptian preparations and launched a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian airbases."

          WRONG. The state of war was already on at the time because Egypt had launched a naval blockade against Israel.

          Egypt wanted a simmering war. Israel gave a boiling war. You can negotiate the terms of a peace, but
          you can't negotiate the terms of a war.

          " The US did not like this and did not supply ammo."

          WRONG again. Israel was relying on French armaments at the time.

    • by mr100percent (57156) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @02:07AM (#35328800) Homepage Journal

      I'm happy you cite primary sources, but it's a bit more complicated than that, since Iran's theocracy is rooted in democracy and elected institutions.
      Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, is chosen by the Assembly of Experts who are voted by the people; this is analogous to how the President is indirectly elected by the Electoral College. He in turn appoints the Courts and armed forces.
      Here's a good flowchart [bbc.co.uk].

      What makes it a bit harder for people to understand is that Iranians are electing a head of state who is also at the same time their religious leader (aka the marjiya), although many follow other Ayatollahs such as Sistani or Montazeri. Iran is not religiously homogeneous, there are about 25,000 Jews in Iran and they get guaranteed representatives in the Parliament as well as the Bahais and others.

      • by tokul (682258)

        this is analogous to how the President is indirectly elected

        I do see problem with election, when people start questioning election results and authorities try to suppress them.

      • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:21AM (#35329002)
        Not quite the same. What are the actual limits on power of the Supreme Leader? What checks and balances are there to make sure the Supreme Leader follows the will of the people/democratic process? It appears while there might be some limits in theory in practice the Supreme Leader has the Pasdaran and Basiji to do whatever the hell he wants. Iran has the trappings of a democracy but in actual practice it is a very corrupt absolute theocracy. Which is a real shame since all the Iranians I meet I really like as generally intelligent, warm and humerous people.
        • The checks and balances inside the Iranian government exist, I just didn't think it within the scope of my answer to include them. The Iranian Parliament is tasked with duties of the Legislative branch, and has the power to impeach the President, the President has the Executive branch and is tasked with carrying out the laws, and the Supreme Leader has the power to appoint the Judicial branch and is head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and is chosen via indirect election (unlike the US

      • by boxwood (1742976) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @07:52AM (#35329806)

        But the Guardian Council gets to decide who is allowed to stand for election. You're a reformer? Yeah the Guardian Council says that you're not allowed to run for political office.

        Iran is actually closer to how the Vatican is run. Yeah the Cardinals decide who gets to be Pope, but the Pope gets to decide who gets to be Cardinals. This ensures that there isn't going to be a new Pope with radical new ideas like allowing priests to marry, or promoting the use of condoms in Africa, even if most catholics might want the church to move in this direction.

        The Iranian government isn't doing what the people of Iran want, as indicated by the protests there.

        • The Guardian Council vets Candidates. Candidates must pledge in writing that they are committed, in theory and in practice, to the Iranian constitution. The council did bar a lot of reform candidates from office, which was probably a political move and could have been an abuse of its power. However, the existence of strict vetting is not that different from places like Israel. It is a requirement that you state your commitment to Zionism in order to run for office (Israel has a large Arab minority of 20% an

        • According to Israeli law: "A candidates list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

          • negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
          • negation of the democratic character of the State
          • incitement to racism"

          The Israeli government is under pressure to ban Arabs from future elections under the pretense that they don't consider Israel a "Jewish" state.

    • > some religious kooks who think some invisible mahdi dude will reappear at armageddeon, with freaking NUCLEAR BOMB?!

      It is actually worse for the twelvers to have bombs vs some crazed Pentecostals having the bomb because the twelvers believe they can actually cause the chaos that leads to their end times scenario. Most Christians, even the end times types, would reject the notion that they can 'force God's hand', most even reject the notion we can know when the big kaboom is coming exactly. Not saying

    • Good old CTS, the same broken record, on Iran (He has a real bee in his bonnet about them)and yes, false equivaency. If you dont want people saying that you shouldnt do it, its easy really. DONT DO IT!

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      i don't care about israel. israel doesn't matter: iran shouldn't have nukes because it is a theocracy. it believes in power invested in some grumpy old men who are believed to have a sort of monopoly on the interpretation of the will of god.

      that's the only reason?

      and please, i don't want any asshole lecturing me about false equivalency: that it's the same as pakistan, or israel, or the usa, or whatever

      The USA elected a leader who said "I believe God works through me" on national television and you don't think we live in a theocracy? In God We Trust, all others pay cash? I pledge allegiance to the flag united under God? Sucker.

  • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @04:42AM (#35329298)

    Civilian nuclear plants are not optimized for the production of weapons grade plutonium. The most economically efficient way to produce power creates Pu-239 (the bomb stuff) and Pu-240, which will result in predetonation in an implosion nuclear weapon. (It is totally impractical to isotopically separate Pu-239 from Pu-240 because they're sufficiently radioactive)

    However, if you remove the nuclear fuel in a civilian plant prematurely, such as what Iran is doing, then less of the Pu-239 being produced will be turned in to Pu-240 (just a small amount poisons the reactor). And it can be used to make weapons, though a purpose-designed plant to make weapons grade plutonium is more economically efficient (e.g. graphite instead of water moderated).

    This premature removal of fuel rods (and likely reprocessing) along with Iran's other actions show a renewed committment to producing nuclear weaponry.

    • Wish that I had not replied. I had points. I would have modded you up.
      There really is little doubt that Iran is in the process of making nukes. At this point, I think that we just leave Iran and Syria a simple message:
      Blow a nuke on your soil and we will send in conventional missiles to destroy your bases and your ability to produce them. Blow a nuke off your soil OR send up a single missile pointed towards ANY nation, and all of our incoming missiles will have nukes.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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