“Zone of uncertainty”. What to expect from fuel from the USA to Ukrainian NPPs

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© RIA Novosti / Press service of the President of Ukraine
Ukraine goes to American fuel for nuclear power plants. No claims against Russian supplier in Kiev to formulate could not, but the decision is made, the policy outweighs the security concerns. The authorities do not stop even the threat of accidents due to incompatibility of fuel assemblies from the United States with Soviet reactors. What are the consequences for Ukraine and neighboring countries experiments in nuclear energy — versed RIA Novosti.

The incident the incident

In April, residents of the Ukrainian Warsow (until 2016 — Kuznetsovsk) remained without electricity. The reason for the blackout — circuit on the third unit of the Rovno nuclear power plant, located four kilometers from the city. The fire broke out, but he was quickly localized. While there was restoration work in nearby settlements daily check the level of radiation. Cost.Summer at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant due to a technical malfunction stopped the second unit. In September, work was resumed, but the failure gave the cooling system of the reactor. Now at the end of the first and second units.Last winter at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant disconnected Turbomachinery pump. Given that it is the largest NPP in Europe, alarmed not only Ukrainians, but also the residents of neighboring Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia.On it is southern-the Ukrainian station in 2015, a transformer caught fire. The area of the fire exceeded one hundred square meters.Incidents at nuclear facilities it is not uncommon for Ukraine. Among the main reasons for the depreciation of equipment. All four stations were built in Soviet period and in need of modernisation. But the national nuclear power generating operator Energoatom denies the problem. Accidents at nuclear power plants in the company comment traditional: threats to ecology and to health of citizens is not fixed.

The “orange” turn in the peace atom

In Soviet times half consumed Ukraine electricity produced at nuclear power plants. The other fifty percent was given for the expense of gas, coal and oil, which are mainly supplied from Russia. But after the “orange revolution” in November 2004, Kiev has declared the Pro-European course, and reducing dependence on Russian energy resources has become an integral part.Fifteen years later, this dependence is not eliminated. But minimized. This happened due to not so many alternative suppliers of energy as the load on the plant. Today in the pattern of electricity consumption the share of nuclear energy exceed sixty percent.Four operating in Ukraine NPP, Rivne, Zaporizhzhya, Khmelnytsky and South-Ukrainian — exploit fifteen units. For this indicator, the country enters the top ten, but to independently enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel can not. Until the end of the zero fuel on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant supplied the Russian company “TVEL” is a division of the state Corporation “Rosatom”. This was due to the fact that a party — Builder stations knows the production technology for safe and high-quality fuel.But the “orange” President Viktor Yushchenko has decided to do away with the influence of Moscow in the field of nuclear energy. In 2008 he entered into an agreement with the American Westinghouse on the supply of alternative fuel for nuclear power plants. It was predicted that by 2015 at least three units at the stations fully switch to American fuel. Moscow has expressed concerns that this is unsafe and is fraught with serious incidents. Kiev warnings were ignored, but soon remembered them.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© Photo : Official website of the South Ukrainian energy complex. South-Ukrainian NPP‘s Third power unit it is southern-the Ukrainian nuclear power plant was one of the first American loaded with fuel. For the test phase in the work of the station has failed. Provoked his fuel Westinghouse, which did not come under Soviet reactor type. Losses “Energoatom” has made $ 175 million. To restore the production had Russian specialists. They again loaded the reactor with fuel TVEL, and work resumed. From the use of American fuel Kiev refused, but in 2016 this idea back again.Today, six Ukrainian power units of the Zaporozhye and South-Ukrainian NPP work at the Westinghouse fuel. The rest of the reactors is still loaded with products of “TVEL”. The American fuel is much more expensive. Thus, only the first quarter of this year Energoatom has paid Westinghouse 51,23 million dollars. Russian fuel over the same period cost the country’s budget of 17.5 million dollars. However, high cost does not stop Kiev.”Diversification of nuclear fuel supply is a strategic issue to reduce dependence on the provider country”, — has repeatedly said in “Energoatom”.The company noted that it is not a complete rejection of Russian fuel elements. Expiring in 2020, the agreement with TVEL, Ukraine has extended for five years.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© AFP 2019 / Genya Savilov. The senior shift supervisor monitors the operation of the turbines in the third power unit it is southern-the Ukrainian NPP American fuel Westinghouse. 19 Jun 2018

Radioactive waste

Another problem facing Ukraine after partial switching to American fuel, what to do with used raw materials, which is still radioactive. If it is incorrectly disposed from the radiation affected all living things. Do it yourself Kiev can not, as they do not have the technology and the right to enrich uranium.While at Ukrainian nuclear power plants using Russian-made products, the problem of waste disposal “Rosatom” took over. The Americans have a different approach. Westinghouse initially States that is not engaged in export.But for the sake of Kiev, Washington has made concessions and has allocated the credit in $ 250 million for the construction of nuclear storage facilities in the Chornobyl exclusion zone. On average, the construction of a nuclear burial ground takes from ten to fifteen years, so the timing of construction in Ukraine has not yet spoken.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© AFP 2019 / Anatolii Stepanov. South-Ukrainian NPP

Czech rake

RIA Novosti interviewed experts agreed that Ukraine’s decision to partially switch to us nuclear fuel and politically motivated.”A forced transfer of raw materials from Westinghouse began after coming to power in 2014, Petro Poroshenko. Although just the year before the country imposed a ban on the use of American fuel. State nuclear regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine revealed that the cause of the incident in 2012, the failure of the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant were flaws with the fuel”, — told RIA Novosti Director of the Center for energy and security Anton Khlopkov.The expert drew attention to the fact that to Ukraine the problems with the American fuel occurred in the Czech Republic on the Temelin NPP.”On the Czech nuclear power plant — two VVER-1000 reactor, built with the assistance of Russian specialists. Due to repeated problems with American nuclear fuel, despite financial losses, the Czech operators prematurely abandoned its use and resumed cooperation with the company “TVEL,” he recalls.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© AFP 2019 / Anatolii Stepanov. South-Ukrainian Aespi this cotton does not exclude that sooner or later Russia will start to supply its own fuel for nuclear reactors of the Western type. He believes the competition between suppliers is a natural process, but stressed that it should be done not to the detriment of nuclear energy.”For example, a test of the Russian fuel assemblies are loaded now in NPP “Ringhals” in Sweden. A signed contract with one of the us companies in the licensing of Russian fuel for use in the United States. This process takes more than three years and is intended to confirm the safety of the fuel. Fuel is held in the reactor, researched its behavior, is analyzed, if there are any deformations or injuries that may pose a threat to safe operation of NPP”, — explains the expert.Claps said the licensing process American fuel in Ukraine has been crumpled and not without politicization.”The threat here — come people far from nuclear energy. It is important to remember that regardless of the location of objects”, — the expert emphasizes.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© AP Photo / David Veis/CTK. Nuclear power plant “Temelin” in the Czech Republic

Trends are changing, the grey zone remains

Advisor of the PIR Center Andrey baklitskiy believes that Ukraine partially passed on American fuel for the same reasons, and Sweden — in Russian.”Moscow has become a potential supplier of fuel for Swedish nuclear power plants after the tender. Stockholm is fundamentally looking for two importers. The principle here was this — in every nuclear reactor there must be two of the contractor, that in case of failure of supply from one another continued to supply the reactors with fuel. This is good from the point of view of prices. Countries compete for the market of fuel, so the incentive to artificially inflate the price of compressed”, — explained the RIA Novosti expert.Safety of nuclear reactors baklitskiy also puts in the first place. While noting that the company’s fuel suppliers are constantly working to improve its quality. Especially when it comes to the supply of resources for “step-reactors”.”After the resumption to Ukraine U.S. deliveries in 2016 serious incidents with the fuel rods has not yet occurred. Surely the Americans carried out the work on the bugs” — requires a consultant to the PIR Center.

"Зона неизвестности". Чего ждать от топлива из США на украинских АЭС

© RIA Novosti / Falin. Zaporozhye NPPSpecialist at MGIMO-University, atomic energy Denis Yurchak does not deny the tendency of transition of nuclear power in many countries on gas from different suppliers, but believes that there are many uncertainties.”Ukraine started to use the products of Westinghouse recently. And no one really yet knows how these cores will behave in the reactor during prolonged use. There is a grey area. The United States insist on the security of their fuel. Rosatom warns. While each side has its own interest. Find an independent arbitrator in the dispute difficult,” expresses the opinion RIA Novosti Yurchak.Andrey baklitskiy draws attention to the fact that to switch completely to American fuel is not going to Kiev. Moreover, “Rosatom”, as the expert, did not give reason to doubt the continuity of supply, no matter how complex it may be Russian-Ukrainian relations.”Rosatom” has always stressed that cooperation in nuclear energy politics. And never the company did not violate this principle. But if Westinghouse will be the sole provider, it will also be a political contract. Americans have lost the incentive to improve fuel and reduce the price, which now exceeds Russian” — sums up baklitskiy.Galiya Ibragimova

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