The attack on Ukraine’s power grid shut down all 15 of the country’s nuclear reactors for the first time ever.Russia also retains control of Zaporozhye, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant
November 25, 2022
Ukraine’s nuclear power plants have been caught in the crossfire, both politically and literally, since Russia began its invasion. But this week, for the first time in history, all 15 of its nuclear reactors were shut down by fighting.
The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Europe’s largest nuclear power plant near the Ukrainian city of Ernekhodar, has been in Russian hands since March. The final working reactor for ZNPP is closed in september as a precautionary measure. Nuclear power plants supply electricity to the grid when they are running, but when they are shut down they actually draw power from the grid to run vital cooling and safety systems, meaning interruptions in power supply are a major concern.
On Nov. 23, Russian troops shelled Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure, causing a blackout that triggered the start-up of emergency diesel generators at the ZNPP, as well as reactors at three other Ukrainian nuclear power plants that had been largely undisturbed during the war.
In a statement on its website, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said For the first time in the 40-year history of the Ukrainian nuclear power industry, all nuclear power plants do not generate electricity, but rely on diesel backup generators.Connect to the national grid resumed on November 25.
The ZNPP’s six nuclear reactors, all fueled by uranium-235, are vital infrastructure that Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, has held on to since the early days of the invasion.Reports suggest that Rosatom is trying to force Ukrainian employees at the plant to sign new contracts and join its own workforce. most people refuse. IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said it would “unacceptable pressure” staff member.
Recent Rumors on Social Media It was suggested that the ZNPP could return to Ukraine as part of a concession aimed at preventing a major counteroffensive against Russian forces.These rumors at least get some credibility IAEA claims This week, it is in high-level consultations with Russia on implementing a “nuclear safety and security protected zone” around the ZNPP. What exactly this involves is unclear, and the IAEA did not respond to a request for comment.
Jacopo Buongiorno A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said he was skeptical of the idea that Russia would return anything of value to Ukraine, but that if it did, it would require lengthy preparations before factories could return to working order.
“Restarting factories will be a long job. Think months, not weeks,” he said. “Equipment and structures need to be repaired, spare parts need to be procured, staff needs to be brought back, new staff needs to be hired and trained. A couple of reactors may be in good enough shape to restart more quickly, but to run at full capacity it may take several month’s time.”
Four of the ZNPP’s reactors are in “cold shutdown” and fully dormant, while two remain in “hot shutdown,” a standby mode, he said. Even if the war ended tomorrow and the Energoatom regained control, it would take months just to get those two back to work. Staffing levels at the plant are “very low,” Buongiorno said, and vital spare parts won’t be delivered at an optimal pace.
Olena PareniukA scientist working at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant said that the process of restarting the nuclear power plant was long and difficult, but Ukrainian citizens desperately needed energy supplies, and they were experiencing widespread blackouts across the country.
“it won’t [come in time to] Help us get through the winter,” she said. Equipment needs to be checked, she said, and it’s a job that can’t be rushed. “Energoatom says it’s going to be fast, but nuclear grade is ‘fast.’ “
Bruno Merck A researcher at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom said that Russia is “currently doing everything it can to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure”, and that even a retreat from Russia’s occupation could cause problems in their withdrawal. Without the support of Rosatom and its suppliers, these Facilities will not be available. “They could break tiny essential parts that can only be replaced by the manufacturer, and I don’t see manufacturers willing to provide that during a war,” he said.
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