A 6.3-magnitude earthquake has hit 89km southeast of Bushehr, the site of Iran’s only nuclear power station. It was also felt on the other side of the Gulf, where offices in Bahrain and Qatar were evacuated.
According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency 30 people have been killed with around 800 injured. Red Cross officials say two villages were badly damaged.
The Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power station felt the shakes but has not been damaged. Russian state news agency RIA published the following statement: “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.”
A local Bushehr resident told Reuters that the local homes shook but weren’t damaged saying, “We could clearly feel the earthquake. The windows and chandeliers all shook.”
The earthquake was much smaller than the one that struck in 2011 in Japan with disastrous consequences, when three nuclear reactors melted down after the cooling system and back-up generators were damaged in the resulting tsunami.
The nuclear station in Bushehr is the only one in the world that is not part of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which was organised after the Chernobyl disaster.
Concerns have previously been raised about the positioning of the plant in an area of highly seismic activity.