Iran Evacuating Villages Near Nuke Plantgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Iran Evacuating Villages Near Nuke Plant 10:25 am PST, 24 December 2000
The Iranian government is planning to begin evacuations of people living near the Bushehr nuclear power plant, though none of the reactors have actually become operational yet, Middle East Newsline reported on Friday.
According to the Iranian daily newspaper, Hayat-E, all persons living within a 10 kilometer radius will begin to be evacuated within two months. The evacuations will continue for a year.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources say the Bushehr reactors are part of Iran's budding nuclear weapons program, though officially Tehran says the reactors are part of its civilian power infrastructure.
Western intelligence officials say the Bushehr project serves as a cover for classified programs that have been concealed from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Both Russian-built reactors located at Bushehr are expected to be online by 2004.
"A team of European experts is at the Bushehr site now to examine the possible effects of radiation," one unnamed government official told the Hayat-E newspaper. "The first delivery of auxiliary equipment for the facility is due to arrive from Ukraine in the coming months."
The project was initially begun by Iran in the late 1970s, but by 1994 became dormant because Tehran lacked the domestic capability to complete it.
However, the project was reactivated in 1995 after Russia agreed to sell the two reactors to Tehran.
In 1979, Germany had ordered the initial prime contractor for the project, the German group Siemens, to abandon the project after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
While Iran continues to pursue its goal of nuclear power, the Iranian military is putting the finishing touches on a new generation of domestically-produced ballistic missiles that the CIA believes could someday carry nuclear payloads.
A recent CIA-sponsored report said Iran may be capable of launching its own ICBM by next year, have its own land-attack cruise missiles by 2006, and the ability to launch nuclear-tipped ICBMs by 2015.
The CIA also said that Iran's schedule could be moved up if Tehran manages to secure the necessary technology for its weapons projects sooner that currently expected.
-- Rachel Gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 24, 2000