AP Exclusive: Iran sticks to building nuke plants

VIENNA – The leaders of earthquake-prone Iran have reviewed — and rejected — concerns by the country’s top scientists about a plan to build a national nuclear reactor network, according to intelligence shared with The Associated Press.

An official from a member nation of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency says the Iranian decision was reached shortly after Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, spewed radiation into the atmosphere and evolved into the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

The review, said the official, included studying a 2005 report that focused on Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province — site of a planned nuclear plant near the town of Darkhovin on the northern tip of the Persian Gulf — that was updated in 2010 and early this year with a study of earthquakes that have hit other Iranian provinces in the last decade.

The official said Tuesday that the report warns that “data collected since the year 2000 shows the incontrovertible risks of establishing nuclear sites in the proximity of fault lines” in Khuzestan and 19 other Iranian provinces.

The official, who asked for anonymity in exchange for divulging intelligence information, said the review was conducted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi, Saeed Jalili, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and Revo… >>>

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