Iran says nuclear sites safe from earthquakes and cyber threat

Fri May 10, 2013 12:44pm EDT
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By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran's nuclear and hydropower facilities are well protected from cyber attacks and even the most powerful earthquakes, Iranian environmental protection chief Mohammad-Javad Mohammadizadeh said on Friday.

Iran's only nuclear power reactor at Bushehr was unscathed when a strong earthquake that killed 37 people and injured 850 hit close to the site last month, Iranian officials and the Russian company that built it said.

But that has not stopped fears about safety in a country that sits on major faultlines, especially as Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said that more reactors would be built there, just hours after the earthquake.

Two U.S. think-tanks, the Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of American Scientists, said before the earthquake struck that warnings over such events had "fallen on deaf ears".

"Most of the energy producing utilities - including all our power plants, being hydropower or even nuclear - they do comply with the minimum of 8, up to about 10, on the Richter scale for resistance to earthquakes," Mohammadizadeh told Reuters.

"The highest known levels of safety and environmental standards have always been observed and incorporated during construction and after the commissioning phase," he said, speaking through an interpreter during an interview at the Iranian diplomatic mission in Geneva.

Mohammadizadeh, also vice president, said Iran was aware of the risks from earthquakes and landslides, which he said applied equally to its hydropower dams.

"Some of the dams we have well over 3 billion cubic meters of water right behind the dam. Imagine what kind of catastrophe a leakage or destruction of the dam could impose," he said.   Continued...

Vice President and Head of the Environmental Protection Organization of Iran, Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh pauses during an interview with Reuters at the Iran Mission to the Untied Nations in Geneva May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse