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December 16, 2008 

Former Employee of Arizona Nuclear Power Plant Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison in Connection With Exporting Software to Iran

Mohammad Reza Alavi, a former employee of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona, was sentenced today in federal district court in Phoenix to 15 months in prison in connection with exporting software to Iran. Alavi was found guilty by a federal jury on May 27, 2008 for Unauthorized Access to a Protected Computer. Alavi was also charged with one count of stealing protected software from the nuclear power plant and one count of illegally exporting the software in violation of OFAC's Iranian Transactions Regulations. However, the jury failed to reach a verdict on those counts and Alavi subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods.

Alavi admitted that he unlawfully transported 3 KeyMaster software, which was designed for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and is used as a simulator system to train employees on the operation of its nuclear reactors, to Iran to use in future employment in the nuclear industry.

According to the U.S. Government, on July 19, 2006, after having given notice of his intent to resign from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Alavi installed the customized Palo Verde version of the 3 KeyMaster software onto his personal laptop and activated the program by obtaining a registration key from the Western Services Corporation’s protected website. Alavi did not have authorization from Palo Verde or Western Services Corporation to take the software with him. On August 16, 2006, Alavi took the software to Iran where he intended to reside.

While in Iran on October 10, 2006, Alavi used the Internet and logged onto the Western Services protected customer web site located in the United States and successfully obtained another 3 KeyMaster software registration key. In obtaining the registration key, the Alavi falsely identified himself as another Palo Verde employee on the registration form.




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