Gulf Cooperation Council countries discuss Iran nuke radiation fears

Gulf Cooperation Council countries discuss Iran nuke radiation fears

PanARMENIAN.Net - National emergency officials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries met on Sunday, April 14 in Saudi Arabia to discuss the risk of radiation spreading over the Gulf if Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant is damaged by another earthquake, Reuters said.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck close to Iran's only nuclear power station last week, killing dozens of people but leaving the nearby plant undamaged, according to Iranian officials and the Russian company that built it.

There is no indication of any radiation leak following last week's tremor and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said the plant was built to withstand much bigger quakes.

But the plant on earthquake-prone Iran's southern coast is a growing worry for its neighbors, because the prevailing winds of the Gulf mean that if radiation ever does escape it would probably be blown over the Qatari capital Doha and the main oil exporting ports of the United Arab Emirates.

GCC Secretary-General, Abdulatif al-Zayani, said that Gulf Arab states must have a joint plan to collectively deal with any possible leak from the Iranian facility.

Zayani said and the six Gulf Arab states have previously urged Tehran to ensure its facility complies with international safety standards and join the Convention on Nuclear Safety, but Tehran did not show any sign it understood international concerns over its nuclear program.

Iran is the only country operating a nuclear power plant that does not belong to the convention, negotiated after the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl which contaminated a wide area and made 160,000 Ukrainians homeless.

Western countries have imposed sanctions on Iran over its wider nuclear program, which they say could include weapons. Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.

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