December 24, 2007

The Iranian Score

Now that the Russians have begun to fuel the nuclear power station at Bushehr, the Iranians want to build more reactors. In fact, they will build nineteen more while the UN debates whether to increase sanctions on Teheran for their refusal to stop their uranium enrichment program:

Iran will soon announce an international tender for building 19 nuclear power plants, an MP was quoted as saying, a week after Russia said it had begun fuel deliveries to the Islamic state's first such facility. ...

Russia said on December 17 it had delivered the first shipment of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr power plant in southern Iran, a step Moscow and Washington said should convince Tehran to shut down its own disputed uranium enrichment activities.

Iran, however, said it would not halt its efforts to enrich uranium, a process to make fuel for power plants that can also provide material for atomic weapons, if refined much further.

Iranian officials say domestically-produced fuel is needed for other power plants it wants to build as part of a planned network with a capacity for 20,000 MW by 2020.

Now the Iranians want to operate a score of power plants. That may help explain their insistence on enrichment, but it also provides a rather convenient cover for enriching uranium for other purposes. Until Iran fully complies with international covenants and UN resolutions, we simply cannot verify that their program has no malign intent.


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