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28 January 2011, 12:28

Russia claims Stuxnet could have triggered second Chernobyl

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Stuxnet Logo Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian ambassador to NATO, has warned that Stuxnet could have triggered a catastrophe comparable to the core meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986. Reuters reports that Rogozin has asked NATO to investigate Stuxnet. In the ambassador's opinion, Stuxnet's impact is comparable to that of an explosive mine.

Stuxnet is currently believed to have had two digital payloads – one designed to destroy the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Natanz and one designed to destroy the turbine control systems at the Bushehr nuclear plant. Rogozin is well placed to understand the potential effects of damaging the turbines in the Iranian nuclear plant, as it was built by Russian nuclear plant specialist Atomstroyexport.

The worst case scenario in the event of a failure caused by modifying the control systems for a high pressure turbine is an emergency shut down. However, as past incidents show, where a failure occurs, followed by actions intended to resolve the failure, things can go wrong. For example, Sweden's Forsmark nuclear plant is reported to have narrowly escapedPDF a core meltdown in 2006.

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