Russia: Iran Could Cause 'Another Chernobyl'
Damaged nuclear reactor activation should not be rushed, scientists insist
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2011 11:15 AM CST
In this Feb. 27, 2005 file photo, the reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

(Newser) – If Iran’s attempts to activate its first nuclear power plant go forward as planned, we could be facing “another Chernobyl,” Russian officials warn. Russia has been assisting Iran with its controversial Bushehr reactor, which was reportedly damaged by the Stuxnet virus. Because of that damage, Russian scientists warned the Kremlin that Iran’s deadline to activate the complex could result in a nuclear disaster, reports the Telegraph, citing Western intelligence reports.

Even so, Iranian leaders want the schedule to remain unchanged, with Bushehr set to produce electricity for the national grid this summer. Iran’s foreign minister insists “all the rumors related to the Westerners' claims that Stuxnet had caused damage to the nuclear plants are rejected,” but Russian scientists are so concerned they have lobbied the Kremlin for a postponement. Click for more on Stuxnet, which was reportedly a joint US-Israeli venture.