Iran Says Sanctions Could Force Shutdown of Nuclear Power Plant

Iran said its only nuclear power plant could stop operating this year as the country struggles to keep the unit running because of sanctions.

The Bushehr nuclear power station is “facing the risk of shutdown” because U.S. banking restrictions have made it difficult for the Islamic Republic to transfer money and procure necessary equipment, Mahmoud Jafari, a deputy at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.

“Currency fluctuations and problems related to banking sanctions have complicated efforts to meet the reactor’s operational and maintenance costs and make payments to Russian contractors,” Jafari said.

Bushehr, developed by Russia and operational since 2011, is one of the oldest civilian nuclear power plants in the Middle East and is not regarded by the United Nations atomic watchdog as a proliferation threat. Most of Iran’s electricity is produced from natural gas.

Russia has signed an agreement to build two more 1-gigawatt nuclear reactors on the site of the existing reactor in a deal Iran said is worth $10 billion.

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