Iran: 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes close to nuclear power plant. 37 dead, 850 injured – 090413 1705z

30 killed and 800 injured in 6.3 magnitude quake that struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power plant, says Iranian news agency.

Map

(Image: BBC News)

However, UN Nuclear Agency says Iran has told it the earthquake caused no damage to Bushehr plant and no radioactive release.

– Ch4 News

“(Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station on Tuesday, killing 30 people and injuring 800 as it devastated small villages, state media reported.

 

The 6.3 magnitude quake totally destroyed one village, a Red Crescent official told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), but the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant was undamaged, according to a local politician and the Russian company that built it.

 

“Up until now the earthquake has left behind 30 dead and 800 injured,” said Fereydoun Hassanvand, the governor of Bushehr province, according to ISNA.

 

Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud brick, which can easily crumble in a quake.

 

Across the Gulf, offices in Qatar and Bahrain were evacuated after the quake, whose epicenter was 89 km (55 miles) southeast of the port of Bushehr, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The early afternoon shock was also felt in financial hub Dubai.

 

Abdulkarim Jomeiri, a member of parliament for Bushehr, told IRNA that “the distance between the earthquake focal point and the Bushehr nuclear power plant was about 80 km and, on the basis of the latest information, there has been no damage to the power plant.”

 

The Russian company that built the nuclear power station, 18 km (11 miles) south of Bushehr, said the plant was unaffected.

 

“The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor. Personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm,” Russian state news agency RIA quoted an official at Atomstroyexport as saying.

 

One Bushehr resident said her home and the homes of her neighbors were shaken by the quake but not damaged.

 

“We could clearly feel the earthquake,” said Nikoo, who asked to be identified only by her first name. “The windows and chandeliers all shook.”

 

Tuesday’s quake was much smaller than the 9.0 magnitude one that hit Japan two years ago, triggering a tsunami that destroyed back-up generators and disabled the Fukushima nuclear plant’s cooling system. Three of the reactors melted down.

 

Iran is the only country operating a nuclear power plant that does not belong to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, negotiated after the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl which contaminated wide areas and forced about 160,000 Ukrainians from their homes.

 

Western officials and the United Nations have urged Iran to join the safety forum.

 

REPEATED WARNINGS

 

Tehran has repeatedly rejected safety concerns about Bushehr – built in a highly seismic area – that began operations in September 2011 after decades of delays.

 

Iran sits on major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam and killed more than 25,000 people. In August more than 300 people were killed when two quakes struck the north west.

 

A report published last week by U.S. think-tanks Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of American Scientists said that “ominously” the Bushehr reactor sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates.

 

“Iran’s sole nuclear power plant is not at risk of a tsunami similar in size to the one that knocked out the electricity and emergency cooling systems at Fukushima. But, repeated warnings about the threat of earthquakes for the Bushehr nuclear plant appear to have fallen on deaf ears,” the report said.

 

The quake happened on National Nuclear Technology Day when Iran’s leaders celebrate the technological advances they say will reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, leaving more of its abundant oil for export.

 

Israel, Gulf Arab states and many Western countries fear Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability and the Islamic Republic is under international sanctions aimed at forcing it to curb some of its atomic work.

 

Iran denies it wants nuclear arms and says its atomic work is for electricity generation and other peaceful uses.

 

(Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna, Regan Doherty in Doha, Steve Gutterman in Moscow; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Jon Hemming)” – REU

Other Reports

Deadly quake in south-west Iran’s Bushehr province

 

A building destroyed in the quake Thousands are thought to live in the area affected by the earthquake

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 37 people and injured 850 in south-west Iran, officials say.

Rescue teams have been sent to the affected area, but darkness is hampering rescue operations.

The quake struck 90km (60 miles) south of the country’s only nuclear power station in Bushehr, the US Geological Survey (USGS) says.

However, the nuclear plant has not been affected and is working normally, officials have said.

The quake was felt across the Gulf in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

Some 10,000 people are thought to live in the affected area in more than 50 villages, two of which have reportedly been completely levelled.

Bushehr’s governor says 700 houses have been damaged and 200 families affected.

The governor’s office has sent generators to the area so rescue operation can continue overnight, the BBC’s Mohsen Asgari in Tehran reports.

Seismologists said the quake struck at 16:22 (11:52 GMT) at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) near the town of Kaki, south of Bushehr – a Gulf port city that is home to Iran’s first and only nuclear power plant.

Iran’s seismological centre in Bushehr province, linked to Tehran University, registered the quake at a magnitude of 6.1.

Start Quote

It was a very strange sensation, rather like being on a rocking boat

Phil Stevens Office worker in Abu Dhabi

Tens of aftershocks – the strongest measuring a magnitude of 5.4 – struck within an hour, sending many people into the streets for safety.

State media reported that phone lines had been brought down by the quake and its aftershocks.

The earthquake shook buildings across the Gulf.

“Our entire building started to wobble from side to side for around 30 seconds or so,” Phil Stevens, working on the 10th floor of a building in Abu Dhabi, told the BBC.

“It was a very strange sensation, rather like being on a rocking boat. We evacuated our office and quickly learned of the earthquake in Iran.”

Fault line

The governor of Bushehr, Fereydoun Hassanvand, told Iranian state TV that the nuclear plant was not damaged.

An official with the Russian firm Atomstroyexport told Russian media that the quake “in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor”.

“Personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm,” the official was quoted by Russian state news agency Ria as saying.

Iran’s nuclear programme has roused concern among major powers that Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons – a charge Iran strongly denies.

Iran straddles a major geological fault line, making it prone to seismic activity. In 2003, an earthquake in the city of Bam left more than 25,000 people dead.

One thought on “Iran: 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes close to nuclear power plant. 37 dead, 850 injured – 090413 1705z

  1. “An earthquake of magnitude 6.3M, at a depth of 10km, hit southern Bushehr province in SW Iran on 09 April 11:52 UTC, ca. 90km SE of the city of Bandar-e Bushehr (pop. ca. 165k). USGS-PAGER estimates ca. 3,000 people exposed to “Severe” shaking.
    As of 10 April, FARS reports 37 people killed, 850 injured and 700 houses destroyed in 12 villages.
    As of 09 April, BBC quotes local authorities in stating that the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has not been damaged.
    Several aftershocks occurred in the same area, the strongest being a 5.6M one, ca.5.5km SE from the epicenter of the 6.3M earthquake.” – EU Humanitarian Aid (10 April 2013)

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