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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ukrainian nuclear power: ticking time bomb activated

On June 15, the Ukraine’s Zaporizhia NPP has started loading the first batch of TVS-WR fuel produced by Westinghouse Electric Co. into the reactor of Unit 5, the press service of Ukraine’s Energoatom reported.
The event actually appeared to be so significant for the United States that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Edward McGinnis has personally attended the Zaporizhia NPP.

The main purpose of my visit is to demonstrate strengthening of partnership with the government and the people of Ukraine. Furthermore this visit coincided with the very important event - loading of the fresh fuel supplied by the alternative nuclear fuel manufacturer for Ukraine, which is an important step made by Energoatom towards enhancement of the national energy security’, commented Mr. McGinnis.

‘Fresh’ modern American nuclear fuel, not suitable in the opinion of experts on a variety of characteristics, for yet Soviet era breathing nuclear reactors ... – is definitely an important step towards enhancement of the energy security all over the planet.

Just meanwhile in Ukraine… Local nuclear power engineers are sounding all alarm bells that for ‘unknown’ reasons remain to be unheard, as usual. While at the Zaporizhia NPP they have only started loading the Westinghouse fuel, on the Unit 3 of the South Ukraine NPP it has been in use for a year already. And it was a year full of troubles. The Unit was under repair for 119 days in 2015. On February 20, 2016, turbine stop valves automatically closed upon increase in the steam generator feedwater level. In March, immediately after 83 TVS-WR fuel assemblies were loaded, the Unit was shut down for the scheduled preventive-maintenance to be started again only on June 10. According to some mass media outlets, there was also registered loss of pressure in the nuclear fuel cassettes of the Unit 3 reactor in May.

According to the information that can’t be found on the official websites of Energoatom and South Ukraine NPP, after the overhaul there were several attempts actually to reconnect the Unit 3, all of them failed. Amid this background, on June 2 and June 5, radioactive waste releases into the environment were registered once again - Source


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