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37 Dead, 850 Injured In Iran Earthquake, Officials Say No Damage To Nuclear Power Station

Apr 09, 2013 04:02 PM EDT

The latest reports from Iran indicate that Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake has killed at least 30 people and injured as many as 850 in southwest Iran's Bushehr province.

Reuters reports 32 fatalities, citing a statement from the deputy governor of Bushehr province, but other outlets, including the BBC, Earthquake-Report and the Persian Gulf News Agency report the death toll at 37 as of 4 p.m. EST.

Homes in rural Iran are often made of mud bricks, which will crumble easily in a strong earthquake. Three villages have been completely destroyed, according to Earthquake-Report.

Earthquake-Report indicated that 100 people were severely injured, 750 were slightly injured and 20 have been rescued from the rubble.

Japan and Turkey have reportedly offered assistance to earthquake victims.

The quake's epicenter was only 90km (55 miles) from the coastal town of Bushehr, home to Iran's only nuclear power station. Reports from Iranian media and the plant's Russian manufacturer indicate there was no damage to the plant and it is operating normally, Reuters reported.

Tuesday's earthquake was much smaller than the 9.0 shocker that resulted in a tsunami that crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi campus, where three reactors melted down in the aftermath and are still causing trouble.

However there is still concern over the safety and operating status of the Iranian reactor, which has a history of criticism regarding its safety. The site of the reactor sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates.

Reuters reports that Iran is the only country operating a nuclear power plant that does not belong to the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

According to Reuters, a report published last week by U.S. think-tanks Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of American Scientists said repeated warnings about the threat of earthquakes for the Bushehr nuclear plant "appear to have fallen on deaf ears."

The quake was felt across the Persian Gulf between Kuwait and Dubai, where people posting on Earthquake-Report said they felt the earth sway and buildings shake for about half a minute.

CNN reported some buildings in Abu Dhabi were evacuated. 

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