Officials at Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water expressed concern this week that Iran’s Busheher nuclear reactor will have a negative impact on water in the Persian Gulf.
Official sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Bushehr reactor, located 240 kilometers from the Kuwaiti shore, could cause radioactive pollution in the Persian Gulf, which in turn could pose threat to desalinated water in the country.
“If waters of the Persian Gulf are contaminated with radioactive materials, this would mean a water crisis in the country,” one source said.
“The Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water is heavily dependent on desalinated water production. Therefore, if any oil or radioactive leakage took place in the Iranian reactor due to earthquakes, desalinated water production could be unexpectedly suspended.”
Kuwait’s concerns were raised after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station last week, killing dozens of people.
The nearby plant was left undamaged, according to Iranian government officials and the Russian company that built it.
In an attempt to deal with the potential crisis, Kuwait will work on increasing the number of water reservoirs in the country. The aim is to achieve water security and alleviate shortages.
Current water reserves in Kuwait could meet demand for only eight days, according to official estimates.
Per capita water consumption in Kuwait is up to 500 liters per day, one of the highest rates in the world.
Meanwhile, national emergency officials of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries met in Saudi Arabia on April 14 to discuss the potential crisis that could arise from radiation spreading throughout the Persian Gulf.
GCC Secretary-General Abdulatif al Zayyani, said Gulf Arab states “must have a joint plan to collectively deal with any possible leakage from the Iranian nuclear plant.”
“The earthquake in Bushehr has raised a great deal of concern among GCC countries and the international community of possible damage to the Bushehr nuclear reactor, which could cause a radioactive leak,” Zayyani said at the start of the GCC meeting in Riyadh.
GCC countries have long warned of the possible negative impacts the Bushehr reactor could have on the environment in the Gulf region.
They have repeatedly urged Iran to ensure that the facility complies with international safety standards, but Tehran has not responded to these requests.