An earthquake in Iran has killed dozens and injured hundreds near a nuclear plant. The magnitude 6.1 quake hit a sparsely populated area of southern Iran on Tuesday.
Despite the proximity to the nuclear plant, authorities announced that the plant was not damaged.
The earthquake struck the town of Kaki about 60 miles southeast of Bushehr, a town on the Persian Gulf. The town is home to Iran’s first nuclear plant, which was built with Russia’s help.
Water and electricity were cut to many residents after the earthquake, according to Governor Ebrahim Darvishi of Shonbeh, the worst-hit district. Three helicopters were sent to survey the damaged area before the sun went down.
The Iran earthquake was felt across the Gulf in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Workers were evacuated from high-rise buildings as a precaution. A lighter earthquake jolted the area nearby.
Iran has several seismic faults and frequently experiences tremors. About 26,000 people were killed by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in 2003. The tremors also flattened the historic city of Bam.
At least 32 people were killed in the earthquake and at least 800 were injured. At least two of the more than 50 villages in the area are believed to be completely leveled. The governor’s office has sent generators to the area to assist with rescue operations.
Along with rescue operations, an immediate concern was the nuclear plant. But the Russian company who built it assured that the plant’s operations were not affected. Russian state news agency RIA qouted an official saying:
“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.”
Tuesday’s earthquake in Iran was much smaller than the 9.0 that caused a massive tsunami wave in Japan in 2011. The earthquake and tsunami wave disrupted operations at Fukushima nuclear plant, causing three reactors to have a meltdown.
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