While the United States has, despite all the alarmist movies, remained fairly safe while using nuclear power, the chain of nuclear proliferation has also led to diminishing levels of competence.
Russia had Chernobyl, China had a number of nuclear accidents over the years that it covered up with varying degrees of success, Pakistan has already managed to have an accident and by the time we reach Iran, a country that was recently forced to evacuate major cities, the risk of an accident significantly increases.
Bushehr sits on an active fault line, raising the risks of a Fukushima-type catastrophe. Unless action is taken, the likelihood of an accident is far too high for the international community to ignore.
A Chernobyl-type nuclear meltdown in Bushehr would not only inflict severe damage in southern Iran, but also in the six oil and gas-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, the capitals of those states are closer to Bushehr than Tehran. Nuclear radiation in the air and water would disrupt the Strait of Hormuz shipping, the world’s most important oil choke point. Oil prices would skyrocket. The world economy would face a hurricane.
With prevailing winds blowing from east to west in the gulf, and coastal currents that circle counterclockwise, radiation fallout would contaminate oil fields and desalination plants that provide fresh water for local inhabitants. This would be an unmitigated disaster for the gulf states that rely on desalination plants for water, and would also threaten the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain.
Iran could accomplish many of its goals, breaking its Sunni Gulf rivals and attacking the US presence through sheer incompetence, real or pretend. It’s a rather ugly scenario that demonstrates yet another way that nuclear power can be used as a weapon under the cloak of plausible deniability.
In August of 2010, after several years of delay, the plant became officially operational when fuel rods were transported to the reactor. After no more than six months of operation, the reactor had to be shut down due to problems with the cooling system, which were blamed on German-made components. According to Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, the problems were design anomalies. He stated that 24 percent of the parts and equipment used at the Bushehr plant are German, 36 percent Iranian and 40 percent Russian.
This is not how you make a safe nuclear power plant.
No, but when your concern is getting a nuke, instead of nuclear power, then safety really does not come first.