Earthquake Rattles Iran’s Only Nuclear Power Plant

An earthquake of at least 5.5 magnitude has struck in southern Iran, just 60 miles from the country’s only nuclear power plant near the city of Bushehr.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake, which occurred at around 11am local time.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported the earthquake's magnitude at 5.5, though Iranian state television quoted officials who said it registered at 5.9. The quake occurred at a depth of 6.2 miles. Iranian state television put the epicenter near the town of Kaki, some 540 miles south of Tehran, ABC News reported.

Earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher can have significant damage. The USGS website says that though no casualties have been reported so far, they are possible in an earthquake of this size. Tremors can be especially dangerous to poorly-constructed homes, and in the past have triggered deadly landslides.

Iran quake The earthquake occurred in the south of the country, close to the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Google Maps

The earthquake was reportedly felt as far away as Bahrain and Qatar, on the other side of the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s sole nuclear plant, around 60 miles from Bushehr, already survived several earthquakes without damage. Construction on the plant began in 1975, but work was delayed by the Iran's 1979 revolution and a host of financial and technical difficulties. The plant finally came online in 2011.

Iran sits on the fault line between the Eurasian and Arabian tectonic plates, meaning earthquakes are a near-daily occurrence, and the plant was built to survive such events. According to earthquaketrack.com, Iran has experienced 190 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or higher in the past year.

In November 2017, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed over 530 Iranians in the mountainous Iran-Iraq border region. Another nine were killed in Iraq. Thousands of Iranians and hundreds of Iraqis were injured.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed around 26,000 people in 2003, in one of the worst quakes in Iranian history. The event destroyed the historic city of Bam, which is also close to the Bushehr nuclear plant, but the plant was undamaged.

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