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Sunday, March 18, 2018

The level of safety of Ukrainian nuclear power plants is coming to a dangerous point

Energy has resumed the work of one of the power units of South-Ukrainian NPP. Its an emergency stop has already become the ninth since the beginning of the year and occurred just at the moment when the relevant Minister was speaking in the Parliament. The Minister called the situation in the industry as “critical.” What is happening with nuclear power in Ukraine?

On Monday, the Ministry of energy and coal industry of Ukraine and state company “Energoatom” announced that it is southern-the Ukrainian nuclear power plant on Thursday has finished loading the active zone of the reactor of the third unit. And it can be downloaded from both the Russian and American fuel: 80 fuel assemblies of the Russian company “TVEL” and 83 reinforced fuel assemblies (FA-WR) Westinghouse.

“The Ukrainian government itself is driving the situation into a blind corner. Still nuclear energy regime in Kiev sees as a cash cow”

Energoatom assures that the download was preceded by rigorous testing. It is noteworthy that immediately, the next morning after the load, an emergency stop adjacent the second unit. On it on Friday triggered the emergency protection system. In the night of Saturday, unit operation was restored, however, as reported by the newspaper view, the emergency stop unit has already become the ninth since the beginning of the year in the Ukrainian nuclear industry.

Västerås emits a threat

As reported in last week Forbes magazine in an article on the southern-the Ukrainian nuclear power plant previously occurred depressurization of the nuclear fuel cartridges, which Ukraine has put Westinghouse. However, this was already in the reactor of the third unit, but not the second, which on Friday was stopped.

We will remind, Westinghouse electric (Westinghouse Electric) is a us-Japanese company, whose plant is located in Vasteras (Sweden). In April it announced the expansion of this enterprise – to meet the growing supply for reactors of the Russian VVER-1000 in the countries of Central Europe. So, for Ukraine it expects next year to increase supplies up to five or six games.

The company has for many years been trying to replace Russian nuclear fuel for its. Russian nuclear experts have warned that American fuel may be unsafe. Fuel Westinghouse has again led in 2010 to the emergency situation in the South-Ukrainian NPP. However, in the spring of 2014 Kiev for political reasons signed a contract with the Americans until 2020.

Despite the warnings of experts, in March last year, in the reactor of the third power unit it is southern-the Ukrainian nuclear power plant were downloaded the first 42 fuel assemblies produced by Westinghouse. According to Forbes, the depressurization of the two of them was soon discovered – during a routine shutdown of the reactor.

Meanwhile, authorities are planning in November and December to load is the fuel and in the second block.

“The Westinghouse fuel remains a risk factor. However, it is too early to draw conclusions, it is necessary to wait for the IAEA data. The IAEA inspectors are present at all nuclear stations, and their reports are usually published once a month. There should be a report about this emergency stop”, – said the newspaper VIEW who has worked for many years in the Ukrainian nuclear energy Alex Anpilogov, now head of the historical research Foundation “the Foundation”.

The expert suggests that by itself the Westinghouse fuel was not the cause of the latest emergency situations. “But all the problems associated with this company, bad they end up hurting the prestige and Finance of Energoatom, clearly show all the problems of the Ukrainian nuclear industry,” explained Anpilogov.

In his opinion, cooperation with Westinghouse only exacerbates the situation of nuclear energy in Ukraine. “Any engineering process is based on the fact that the Fuel elements, fuel assemblies or pots are not gods, and people. And, of course, Westinghouse in the case of Ukraine got a wonderful experimental Playground where you can bring your fuel to the condition. But the attempt by Westinghouse to push through this low-quality fuel, Energoatom is to achieve the mythical diversification of supply, is the game very unpleasant cards. And for Energoatom this approach does not Bode well,” – quoted expert RIA “Novosti”.

“Nasalik (Minister of energy of Ukraine – approx. OPINION) stated that Energoatom, as the operating company for quite a long time is in a state of under-funding, finding some substitutes for its activities, which is including the Westinghouse fuel,” – said Anpilogov.

Officers stopped a nuclear power plant

The situation in nuclear power is the most critical for all time of Ukrainian independence, said Friday the former President of Energoatom, Verkhovna Rada Deputy Andriy Derkach. “In the work are currently only seven blocks of the NPP, the two went into emergency mode during the last days. At the Zaporozhye NPP operates two nuclear block of six”, – he said, commenting on the frequent visiting of the Ukrainian nuclear power units, reports “Interfax”.

“The acting Minister of fuel and energy together with the Minister of justice within three months to decide whether unlocking of accounts of Energoatom. Three months! In current exceptional conditions, there is an urgent need to apply directly to the IAEA a statement about the inability of the current Ukrainian leadership to control nuclear energy” – said Derkach. He recalled that a month ago called the Council of national security and defense to hold a special meeting on nuclear power plant, but its appeal, like the treatment of other MPs and trade unions Energoatom, remain without consideration.

The Deputy agreed and the Minister Igor Nasalik. “The situation is critical today, I’ll be honest, starting from the fact that all blocked accounts, for more than six months, even Energoatom, and is the Foundation of Ukraine’s energy system, and accounts are not working. Blocked account Centrenergo, are judicial decisions, even the Ministry – and the locked, cannot pay for electricity,” complained Nasalik. In particular, according to him, the biggest problem is the large domestic debt. “Can we reform the energy sector, when 30 billion of debt?” – rhetorically asked Nasalik, obviously referring to the hryvnia.

It is noteworthy that the news of another emergency stop came just at the time when the Minister came to the podium of Parliament to report.

“Now there was a stop on the South-Ukrainian NPP, literally 30 minutes ago. These deficiencies have arisen over the last month, this is a result of malfunction last year and a half” – quoted by UKRINFORM earlier, the Minister, speaking on Friday morning in the Verkhovna Rada in the framework of “government hour”. When deputies asked about the reasons already nine shutdowns with the start of the year, Nasalik explained their nuclear power plants work at maximum capacity. In addition, the Minister reminded about the blocked accounts of Energoatom, which is difficult to maintain proper technical condition of NPP.

We will remind, in March the State Executive service arrested accounts and property Energoatom 200 billion hryvnia (about 8 billion dollars), effectively stopping the financial and economic activities of Ukraine’s largest power generating company. Arrest made in the case of the recovery of debts in favour of ZAO SP “Ukrelectromash”.

Low Dnepr and illiterate government

“This was not even in the dashing 90-ies! The private company did not receive payment for their delivery, and ultimately through the court secured the arrest of all accounts and Energoatom, and the Ministry, – is perplexed Anpilogov. – And we are talking about the sum total of several million dollars. Paradoxically, the Kiev regime does not take any conscious action for the unfreezing of these accounts to ensure that private interests not a particular provider and the security regime of millions of Ukrainian citizens – and citizens of other countries, as we understand it on the example of Chernobyl”.

In addition to financial, Anpilogov sees another factor that threatens the safety of NPPs. “The unpleasant fact that the authorities are now strongly encouraged Energoatom to use atomic blocks as “agile”. If the unit produces in the network is not a constant voltage, and operates in waves, changing its power during the day that in any regular documentation is not provided, it is risky. It is in a similar situation, and disaster occurred in Chernobyl. But the authorities need this right now because of the crisis in the energy sector in General – to ensure the daily flow, to close the gap where light is not enough” – said the expert.

“It is expected that the year will be dry, so there will be low level in the reservoirs of the Dnieper. Plus continuing problems with the supply of coal from the Donbass, but generally hydro and thermal power plants were used for shunting regulation. All this leads in fact to use as shunting a nuclear power plant. Another factor is the curtailment of cooperation, including the flow of energy from Russia. In General, nuclear units are hostages of the situation. Illiterate “effective managers” forcing them to assume the role, which is unusual for them” – outraged Anpilogov.

“The Ukrainian government itself is driving the situation into a corner. Still nuclear energy regime in Kiev sees as a cash cow, through which you can contain and alternative energy – solar and wind, and inefficient thermal plants, but still in all its glory to provide a monstrous level of corruption. The rate of nuclear energy is not a rate development, and rate of survival – it is still the lowest of all generating capacity in the energy market”, – he said.

That is, said the head of the Fund, Energoatom subsidizes the entire “green” energy in Ukraine. “It is, of course, decreased with the departure of the Crimea, in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions are still being built, solar power plants, which are just a bonanza for private investors. It all happens at the expense of the impoverishment of the nuclear industry that primarily affects security”, – concluded the expert.

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