four plants and 15 reactors





The Russian attack on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhiathe largest in Europe, has highlighted the risk posed by the war in ukraine for the country’s nuclear security. Although the Ukrainian nuclear regulator has assured that the plant’s reactors remain intact and there is no damage affecting the safety of the reactor, the ghost of the chernobyl disaster has made an appearance during this incident.

Currently, Ukraine has fifteen pressurized water reactorsdistributed in central four: Khmelnytsky (two reactors), Rivne (four), South Ukraine (three and Zaporizhia (six), although only nine reactors are connected to the grid, according to data from the Ukrainian state operator Energoatom.

The map of nuclear power plants in Ukraine

In the country there is a heavy reliance on nuclear power: It is the third in the EU that is most dependent on the production of this type of supply, after France and Slovakia. This means that Russian attacks on this type of facility, in addition to being an obvious security risk, entail a heavy logistical blow for Ukraine.

As explained to Efe Eloy Sanz, Professor of Energy Engineering at the Rey Juan Carlos University, the risk for nuclear installations during a war is “a situation of uncertainty associated with the high dependence of a country, in this case Ukraine, on nuclear energy.” And it is that approximately half of the energy consumed in the country comes from nuclear power plants “so they cannot be closed preventively,” says the expert.

Additional security measures

In addition to a direct attack, “the loss of outside power supply or water to cool the core and fuel” are risks for which “in principle” the Ukrainian plants are prepared, given that “it is a member country of the Association of European Nuclear Regulators (WENRA)”, the spokeswoman for the Security Council explained to Efe Nuclear (CSN) Patricia Fernandez.

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To counteract the loss of external power, “the plants have emergency diesel generators capable of autonomous operation for several days”, so this threat should not pose a risk to the plants.

In addition, “after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, additional measures were implemented to deal with the total loss of alternating current”, that is, “not only from the external electricity supply, but also from the diesel generators” that could keep the generators active. refrigeration systems.

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Even before the Russian attack on the Zaporizhia plant, the Iberian Antinuclear Movement, of which Ecologistas en Acción is a part, denounced in a statement the nuclear risk in Ukraine: “It is evident that nuclear facilities are a weak point in the security of a country in the event of war, whether they are an intentional target or not,” the text assured.

Let’s see what the four active nuclear power plants in Ukraine are like:

Zaporizhia

Located in Enerhodar, on the banks of the Kakhovja reservoir on the Dnieper River, Zaporizhia is the Europe’s largest nuclear power plant with six reactors. Between 1984 and 1987 the first four were launched, although until 1995 it was not fully operational.

The plant has a power of 6,000 MWewhich represents a fifth part of the annual production of Ukraine’s electricity and almost half of the electricity generated by the country’s nuclear power plants, according to Energoatom. The extent of the damage caused by the Russian bombardment this Thursday is unknown for now.

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Rivne

This plant is located next to the city of varashin the Rivne region, and is the largest source of energy in the western part of Ukraine.

It has four reactors, with a power of 2,835 MWe: The first was launched in 1980 and the last in 2004, due to a delay due to the moratorium on the construction of this type of facility that was introduced in Ukraine after Chernobyl.

South Ukraine

Located in the region of Mykolayivin the southern part of the country, this nuclear power plant is part of an energy complexwhich includes a hydroelectric plant and a storage plant, which produce around 10% of the total electrical energy in the country and about 20% of what is generated by nuclear plants in Ukraine. The plant was inaugurated in 1992 and has three nuclear reactors.

Khmelnytsky

Located in northwestern Ukraine, this central It has two operational reactors.with a total power of 2,000 MW. Construction of the first reactor began in 1981 and was commissioned six years later, while work on the second reactor began in 1983 but was not completed until 2004, due to the aforementioned moratorium.

Although he has other two reactors under construction are paralyzed currently despite the fact that agreements have been signed for its resumption, so far without results.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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