London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Aftershocks from yesterday’s deadly earthquake continued to rock southern Iran this morning, though there were no new reports of casualties. Iran’s only nuclear power plant—80 kilometers away—did not sustain any damage, according to Iranian and Russian officials.
The Bushehr region in southwest Iran suffered a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Monday. The earthquake left 37 dead and 850 injured, and affected some 92 villages, according to the latest reports.
Over 60 aftershocks with a magnitude of 2.5 or higher have been registered, the head of Iran’s Crisis Management Organization, Mohammed Iranmanesh, told the Iranian news agency ISNA.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, “Several aftershocks, the strongest with a magnitude of 5.3, have been reported. Social media reports indicate that the earthquake was felt in various parts of the region, including Bahrain (305 km from the epicentre), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Doha (Qatar). Some buildings in Doha were evacuated.”
The organization released a statement on Tuesday that said “two villages in the region, Shanbeh (1,746 residents) and Sena (1,253 residents), reportedly suffered considerable damage, with around 80 per cent of village infrastructure destroyed,” but that “no request for international assistance has been received.”
ISNA also reported that Shapour Rostami, a provincial official, estimated initial damages at about IRR 1.54 trillion, or USD 43 million.
Iranian officials said that the Bushehr nuclear facility suffered no damage. The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that it had been informed that by the Iranian authorities that there had been “no damage to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and no radioactive release from the installation.”
According to a report published in 2010 by the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies, “The design [of the Bushehr nuclear facility] also took into account seismic activity in the region: the plant can withstand a Magnitude 8 earthquake (MSK-64 scale) without any serious damage, and can survive up to Magnitude 9.”
Russian contractors from Atomstroyexport, which works on the construction of the plant, reported that the earthquake had “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,” according to the Iranian state-owned media outlet PressTV.