back to article Stuxnet sibling theory surges after Iran says nuke facility shut down by electrical fault

Iran has admitted that one of its nuclear facilities went offline over the weekend, and a single report claiming Israeli cyber-weapons were the cause has been widely accepted as a credible explanation for the incident. Iran on Sunday published this announcement that said an “accident” impacted the “electricity distribution …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those pesky kids and their USB sticks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And now the New York Times reports the event was a "detonation of explosives.""

      Must have been some pretty big USB sticks!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have "heard"...

        A metal desk (double layer top surface) was stuffed with explosives. The Trojan Table? my be fake news but apparently the basis for the fake Iranian Interpol red notice on the guy who vanished from the area.

        By the way, thank goodness no one has bombed the area at least by plane. Bombing the centrifuge site and/or the storage site at Isfahan about 60 miles away would be an ecological disaster - as much of best irrigated farmland and water is around there. If it was contaminated and unusable, the Syrian refugee crisis would look like a small rehearsal with refugees fleeing everywhere, millions if them.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What ?

    The day after the inauguration and there's already a major issue ending in a shutdown ?

    That didn't take long.

    Iran should look into thorium reactors. If it's really for power, a thorium reactor would not create nearly as much tension.

    1. Steve K

      Re: What ?

      Thorium reactors produce U232 (or U233 if Pa233 is removed) so it's still a route to nuclear weapons...

      I suspect also that Iran aren't looking to invest in research reactors, but rather an established process already in use (so not Thorium yet)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What ?

        Thorium reactors produce U232 (or U233 if Pa233 is removed) so it's still a route to nuclear weapons...

        Ah yes, but at the speed a Thorium reactor is producing it you'll be able to fully regrow your mandated beard before you have enough for one kaboom rocket, let alone a full set. Not quite the same as a reactor that is explicitly dedicated to it.

        Face it, otherwise the Americans would not have let this one go in the 60s when it was invented.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: What ?

      "If it's really for power"

      It isn't...

    3. thames

      Re: What ?

      The only large scale reactors that have actually been built that can use thorium that I am aware of are heavy water moderated ones. Reactors of this sort are used around the world as major power producers. The main attraction of these reactors is that they can use natural uranium, and so countries can have a secure fuel supply without needing a uranium enrichment plant. Their very high neutron efficiency theoretically allows them to use thorium as fuel, but all currently use uranium fuel, as uranium is cheap enough that it isn't worth the bother to use thorium.

      Canada is the leader in this field, and most of these types of reactors are based on Canadian technology. This has included experimental work on thorium fuel. India however have done the most work on using thorium fuel, as their thorium reserves are much larger than their uranium reserves and so they have the most interest in this.

      There are other theoretical reactor designs which might use thorium, but so far as I am aware none have actually been built and demonstrated.

      Iran are considering building heavy water reactors. However, these are precisely the type of reactors that the US are the most upset over. So, I don't think that this is the sort of solution you imagine it to be.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What ?

        "There are other theoretical reactor designs which might use thorium, but so far as I am aware none have actually been built and demonstrated."

        8MWt wasn't that small - 1965-1969

        OK, that one didn't use thorium, but it DID use various fuel loads including U233 and it was designed to use/transmute both thorium and U238. Nixon killed it before the next step could be taken

      2. N2

        Re: What ?

        I Candu that

  3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Don't forget

    Israel also had at a Syrian research reactor back in 2011. In that case using some novel naughtiness to do horrible things to Syria's air defence network while their aircraft wandered in and bombed it unhindered.

    On searching online, to make sure I'd remembered correctly, I discover that Israel have subsequently admitted it and had given it the pleasing codename of Operation Outside the Box.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    intelligence sources

    "Not long after the news of this weekend’s electrical incident, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported that intelligence sources had told its reporters the accident was in fact a cyber-attack. "

    Last time I worked for an Intelligence Agency, no-one there, would, on their right mind, even say hello to a journo.

    Even less leak cyber-attacks.

    I call that fake news.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: intelligence sources

      Some leaks are authorised.

      Israel, like most countries' intelligence services, has an official "no comment" policy. But it's often useful for information to "leak" out - either because it's politically convenient or even because Israel wants other countries to know roughly what they're up to.

      This could be a signal to Iran that "we can keep doing this so long as you try to build nukes" or a political signal to the US to "get a move on and stop Iran going nuclear before we do it", or anything in between.

      Similarly Israel has not officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, as that has its political embarrassments. But nukes are only any use as a deterent if people think you've got them and might use them. Hence they also want everyone to know that they defenitely have got nuclear weapons.

      ...Extra points if it turns out to be a lie and they've had everyone fooled for decades (and saved a bundle of cash)...

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: intelligence sources

        Extra points if it turns out to be a lie and they've had everyone fooled for decades

        Or maybe it was a lie at first but a few years later the lie became the truth.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: intelligence sources

          "Or maybe it was a lie at first but a few years later the lie became the truth."

          Sort of like the moon landings? I subscribe to the theory that the US decided to fake the moon landings. Unfortunately for that plan, they hired Stanley Kubrick to produce the video. Perfectionist that he is, Kubrick insisted on shooting on the actual moon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: intelligence sources

            Is your real name Dave?

      2. PyLETS

        Evidence of Israel's nukes

        If Israel didn't have nukes, they wouldn't have kidnapped whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu and locked him up for nearly 2 decades, with 11 years in solitary.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: intelligence sources - Timing

      The fact that this happened during the talks about the US rejoining the JCPOA makes me think that it was an attempt by Israel to put the kibosh on the deal. The "leaks" so soon after the event point to this as well. It also doesn't hurt Netanyahu's attempt to form a government.

      1. Imhotep

        Re: intelligence sources - Timing

        Or the timing was to take the facility down as soon as it came on line.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: intelligence sources

      How long ago was that? After Stuxnet, it seemed that intelligence agencies were bragging about it. I thought it was surprising. This is the age of social media. If it's not viral on social media it didn't happen - obviously an illusion but a sufficiently large number of people have bought into it that it is a substantial and self propagating illusion - maybe a better phrase is 'competing reality'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: intelligence sources

        "If it's not viral on social media it didn't happen"

        And if it is viral on social media then someone faked it to look like it did

  5. thames

    I'll take it with a grain of salt

    Given that it's Iran, their facilities can fall over all by themselves without any outside help due to penny pinching on the actual implementation. I'll take this story with a grain of salt until and unless there's a bit more proof behind it.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: I'll take it with a grain of salt

      "Given that it's Iran, their facilities can fall over all by themselves"

      or they can pretend it, as a booby-trap. At least that's what I'd do.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Luiz Abdala

    Yes, poor Iran needs nuclear power.

    They don't have any other fuel source to produce electrical power.

    Poor little 3rd world country.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Yes, poor Iran needs nuclear power.

      "They don't have any other fuel source to produce electrical power."

      Sooner or later the oil will run out. Long before that the world will be paying middle eastern countries NOT to pump oil.

      Contrary to what many americans believe, climate change is a very scary reality and what's happening in the Leptav Sea risks turning into extinction level event material if the methane clathrate beds that are threatening to blow out turn into a chain reaction (it was end-game of the Permian era and played out in less than a decade - one blowout is bad. 2 is a disaster. 3+ is likely to be "game over, planetary reset button hit, global oxygen levels reduced to 11% for around 100k years" - That's what happened last time)

      1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

        Re: Yes, poor Iran needs nuclear power.

        Cant wait, imagine it, no stupid humans fucking things up

      2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        Re: Yes, poor Iran needs nuclear power.

        Yes, and the Yellowstone caldera is long overdue to go pop! Worrying about it and crippling our economies will not prevent either event.

        2 volcanic eruptions in a few months, and some vulcanolagist are saying there are more to come. The Sun is still in a minimal activity state. All this and the climate mongers are trying to reduce our CO2 blanket. It won't take much to drop this planet into an advancing glaciated period. A colder earth will reap far more devastation than a warmer earth.

  7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I wonder

    if its linked to the fact they only just started the new enrichment line.....

    And some idiot ordered 2 100 amp power cabinets instead of 1 200 amp one.

    Power shorts out.... and to save face "lets blame Israel" all round while trying to find the PHB who changed the specs because 100 amp power supplies were 30% of the price of a 200 amp one......

    I've seen/heard stupider things happening in the defence dept....

  8. Securitymoose

    Probably just programmer error

    Better to blame it on the Israelis, than risk retribution, and of course those worthies would fess up. Easier than actually doing the hacking.

    Otherwise, blame it on Covid - every other damn company does, to cover up their own efficiency.

  9. hoola Silver badge


    So if as we are led to believe this is Israel (with most likely US approval) attacking Iran as "the bad guys" it is all okay. In this case it just ended up with the plant being shut down. There is nothing to prevent a much larger problem if as part of a cyber attack things do not go as expected:

    Safety system do not behave correctly.

    The payload does more damage.

    The human element does not react in the expected way.

    You could very easily end up with a catastrophic meltdown or such like causing huge amounts of damage, both to the plant, local environment and crucially. to anything downwind. The last is the worst as we have seen with Chernobyl & Fukushima.

  10. hypnos

    Dear Bibi, thanks for a job well done!

    Can we now schedule that other Sultan wannabe with the Hitler mustache, Erdoğan? He is also building a series of reactors "just for energy use" with the help of the lifetime presidente of all our hearts, Volodia Putin.

  11. julian.smith

    The New York Times

    A discredited US government mouthpiece.

    Its journalism days are long gone.

  12. arachnoid2

    Explosives eh.........

    Well thinking about it out of the box, a very large capacity could hold quite a lot of explosives couldnt it.........

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lest we forget...

    Israel DID bomb (and later confirm) they took out Syria's nascent Nukes R Us shop in 2007. 6RdT3F6t8kVC+b@]`(@dN3(

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