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Stuxnet worm may be reason for Iran''s nuke programme
On being asked about whether Stuxnet could have contributed to the delays, he said: 'Sure, this could be one of the reasons... there is no evidence that it was, but there has been quite a lot of malfunctioning centrifuges.'
 A former UN nuclear inspections official has claimed that the Stuxnet worm could be partly responsible for delays in Iran''s nuclear programme.
 
 The BBC quoted Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director at the UN''s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, as saying that there are many reasons for the ongoing delays at Iran''s Natanz uranium enrichment plant, a key part of the nuclear power generation process, adding that the virus could be another reason.
 
 
Heinonen further stated that the technical complexity of creating centrifuges had also contributed to the delays in Iran''s nuclear programme.
 
"One of the reasons is the basic design of this centrifuge... this is not that solid," he said.
 
On being asked about whether Stuxnet could have contributed to the delays, he said: "Sure, this could be one of the reasons... there is no evidence that it was, but there has been quite a lot of malfunctioning centrifuges."
 
 
Stuxnet, which was discovered in June, is reportedly the first worm to target control systems found in industrial plants.
 
According to an analysis carried out by security firm Symantec, a Stuxnet-infected controller in an industrial plant would make the devices it was connected to run at very high speeds almost indefinitely. Symantec''s research also suggests that Stuxnet was designed to hit motors controlling centrifuges and thus disrupt the creation of uranium fuel pellets.
 
 
Figures gathered by security firms show that 60 percent of all the infections caused by Stuxnet were on machines in Iran.
 
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released in September shows that about 160 centrifuges in Iran''s nuclear plants had been taken offline in only a couple of months, and no explainations were given for the devices being shut down.
 
However, Iran has always denied that the Stuxnet is responsible for the delays of its nuclear plans. Iran''s Bushehr nuclear power plant is due to start generating power in Janaury 2011, two months later than originally planned, the report said.
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