Mysterious suicide at the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine: review of nuclear energy
Review of key news of the nuclear power industry of Ukraine in February 2018
2 March 2018, 21: 48
As of the last days of February, 12 of 15 Ukrainian nuclear power units were in operation. At unit 3 of Rivne NPP — average planned repairs at unit 1 of Khmelnitsky NPP — major scheduled maintenance; the unit number 2 South Ukrainian NPP — average planned repairs at unit № 2 of Zaporizhzhya NPP — the average planned repair.
The installed capacity utilization rate fell to 70.3% in January (77.5% in January 2017). In the work of the nuclear power plants of Ukraine in January was 4 accounting violations (January 2017 was held without violations in the work).
This year the deadline for operation of two power units ZNPP-4 and KhNPP-1. It is reported that Energoatom intends to extend the life of their operation, as well as others: since the beginning of the decade, Ukraine has extended or is working to extend the life of 8 power units. Such work is quite long, require at least 200 days. I.e. we can assume that each of these blocks will be idle almost the entire year. This means that the situation of 2016 may repeat in the Ukrainian energy sector. Then, a similar operation was conducted at Zaporizhzhya NPP-2 and NPP-2, which caused a power shortage in the energy sector, to compensate for which had power plants. However, in 2016, Ukraine could still receive coal for anthracite blocks of TPP from mines in the uncontrolled territory of Donbass, and the production of its own coal was much higher than today.
According to official information, in 2017 Energoatom purchased nuclear fuel worth more than $ 533 million for the needs of Ukrainian nuclear power plants., 369 of which received Russian concern TVEL and 164 — Westinghouse. The total amount of fuel costs and their distribution among suppliers remained approximately at the same level as in 2016 (386+162=548 million dollars).).
Energoatom is not only the basis of Ukrainian energy, but also one of the largest taxpayers. For 2017, the company paid UAH 8.7 billion. taxes (+3.1 billion UAH. by 2016), which is equal to 2.5% of the budget revenue and allowed the company to take 8th place in the top ten taxpayers of Ukraine.
Electricity production at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants in January 2018 decreased to 7.26 billion kWh (-9.3% compared to January last year, due to which the share of Energoatom in electricity production decreased to 48%).
“Energoatom” has signed an agreement with the Czech Nuvia A. S. for the supply of equipment for ZNPP and SUNPP. The equipment will be used for certification of radioactive waste at radioactive waste processing complexes. At the ZAES, such a complex already exists, in December 2017 it was put into trial operation. At su NPP the construction of a similar complex has just started.
Energoatom can be corporatized and become a public joint stock company, which will be listed on the stock exchange. For example, the French Areva — a huge operator of nuclear power plants, which is traded on the stock exchange, attracts investors, and, in fact, is not an outdated state-owned enterprise, and is one of the giants of the world industry in the energy sector. I am convinced that Energoatom not only can, but should become such an enterprise,” said first Deputy Minister of economic development and trade of Ukraine Maxim Nefedov during a press conference.
I must say that the Deputy Minister is somewhat exaggerating. First, private capital, if considered to be Kuwait’s public investment Fund, controls less than 5% of Areva. About 1% of the company’s shares are owned by the company’s employees. The remaining shares are distributed among government agencies, as well as banks and companies controlled by the French government.
As for the investors ‘ funds, they can be spoken about only from the middle of 2016, when the government decided to reorganize the company. Enterprises of nuclear fuel cycle (Areva NC) and nuclear engineering (Areva NP) were withdrawn from Areva, and part of their shares were sold. But not because they did not want to be an outdated state-owned enterprise, but because the company’s debts exceeded 7 billion euros. However, if the Deputy Minister really wants Energoatom to become such an enterprise, how can we object to this?
“Profit and minimum of problems with the state are important for a private investor. Ukrainian nuclear power plants will not be able to guarantee a quick profit: they need to invest, at least in the same extension of service life. In addition, with such a tariff for electricity (for nuclear generation), no investor will invest. Plus, Ukraine is not the best country for investment, especially long-term. So corporatization and quotations on the stock exchange are fantasies, “Ivan Lizan, an expert in the field of nuclear energy, comments on plans for the partial privatization of Energoatom for IA REGNUM.
The Ukrainian media are trying to disperse the scandal: the tender for the supply of equipment for the yuuaes in the amount of 14.5 million euros was won by Scoda JS (owned by the Russian group “United machine-building plants”). Other participants dropped out at the stage of compliance with the terms of the tender, including the Ukrainian “Novokramatorsk machine-building plant” and the American Meridian Inc. It is possible that even despite the strategic importance of nuclear energy for Ukraine, the government will now cancel the results of the tender.
As reported by Westinghouse journalists, “Energoatom” signed a contract with her for the supply of nuclear fuel until 2025. In particular, the document provides that in 2021-2025 Westinghouse will supply fuel for 7 of 15 power units of Ukrainian nuclear power plants (today it supplies 6 power units). The seventh will be the power unit №3 of Rivne NPP. Currently, American fuel is supplied only for South Ukrainian and Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plants. At the same time, the contract States that Westinghouse will receive some fuel components from the Ukrainian manufacturer. As we remember, the Minister of energy of Ukraine Igor Nasalik has been insisting since 2016 that Westinghouse is supposedly ready to build a nuclear fuel fabrication plant in Ukraine. And Vice-President of Westinghouse Aziz Dag no less stubbornly made it clear that this is the imagination of the Ukrainian official.
According to Aziz Dag, Westinghouse is going to not only increase the supply of nuclear fuel to Ukraine, but also to diversify them.
“At the moment we are in the process of licensing fuel for VVER-440 reactors not only in Ukraine but also in other countries. In the past, we have supplied fuel for such power units. The current contract stipulates that the parties will work to license this fuel and implement it at the power units №1 and №2 of RAES”, — he said in an interview with the news Agency “Ukrainian news”.
Also, the Vice-President of the company noted that in the case of force majeure (as the Ukrainian press prefers to call it the invented scenario of failure of TVEL concern to supply nuclear fuel to Ukraine) Westinghouse will be able to increase fuel production within 12 months in such a way as to fully cover the needs of Ukraine. And not to say that it was some kind of media horror story. Previously, we have reported that Ukraine bought nuclear fuel for the future. It seems that it is stored as a kind of insurance in case of such a development.
It is difficult to say what reasons make the Ukrainian media constantly exaggerate this topic. Perhaps this is a cunning way of information preparation for the refusal to buy fuel from TVEL — preventive, so to speak. Perhaps, Ukrainian journalists are simply not aware that the agreement obliges TVEL to supply fuel for RAES-4 and HAES-2 (both units were put into operation in 2004) until the end of their service life.
Spent nuclear fuel storage
The us government Corporation for foreign private investment (OPIC) and Energoatom have signed an agreement on political risk insurance for the construction of a centralized spent nuclear fuel storage facility. The amount of insurance – $ 250 million., that is exactly as much as promised to Ukraine in debt for the implementation of this project.
Construction work is progressing gradually. The head of the state Agency for the management of the exclusion zone Vitaly Petruk told UNIAN that as of February 15, the storage project is almost approved, at the end of this or at the beginning of next year, the contractor will be selected for its construction. In other words, Ukraine is in no hurry. In fact, only the construction site is ready. Although by the end of 2019, as has been established, the first phase of construction of the facility should be commissioned.
“Facility for the Ukrainian officials is the “Shelter” object No. 2, another eternal building, which officials will attempt to use for personal enrichment,” — said Ivan Lizan, and it is difficult not to agree.
It is known that the first facility is going to pass next year, however, the final construction of the repository will take about 20 years.
General Director of “Energoatom” Yuri Nedashkovsky in an interview with “UKRINFORM” said that Ukraine has already imported auxiliary equipment for the future storage. It is currently stored at one of the nuclear power plants. The main equipment is still at the testing stage — Energoatom specialists in the USA take part in factory acceptance tests.
He also said that the storage project is for Ukraine, including image:
“…this opens up the possibility for further cooperation. We are already beginning to discuss with Bank of America new areas of cooperation for other projects, with which we are ready to introduce and prove that they are cost-effective and can guarantee a very good percentage for us as a borrower, and for investors to provide a very reliable scheme for investing their funds. It is very important that these are funds of the American stock market. And this is the first nuclear project in Ukraine, which will be financed not only by attracting a loan from a banking institution, but from the us stock market. This is very significant.”
Vice-President of the Academy of economic Sciences of Ukraine Anatolii Peshko says that the store, which the United States so willingly gave Ukraine a 20-year loan, will store not only Ukrainian but also American nuclear waste.
“You understand, this is a disaster for Ukraine. The US is deeply indifferent to the future of our people and our country. At home, they banned the construction of places for storing nuclear waste, but planned to move it to us. Not only that to Ukraine, but also at a distance of thirty kilometers from Kiev. The maximum service life of containers for nuclear waste is up to 100 years, but this does not exclude the possibility of all kinds of accidents, like the Chernobyl disaster. The placement of such nuclear graves near the cities is just a tragedy and a disaster for the entire Ukrainian people,” he said on the TV channel LOT.
Production of nuclear reactors in Ukraine
Another American company, Holtec International, once again threatens to place in Ukraine the capacity for the production of small modular reactors.
“The possibility of joint production of small modular reactors in Ukraine is being considered. President [of Holtec International Chris] Singh chose, in fact, only three places in the world where he wants to implement his project — India, where he comes from, the United States, where his company is now working, and Ukraine,” — told the correspondent of the news Agency “UKRINFORM” Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valery Chaly.
Recall, we are talking about the project SMR-160 reactor with a capacity of 145 MW. And the two most important components — the actual nuclear fuel and protection management system — Holtec is not even going to develop. The first is going to charge the British NNL, the second — Czech Scoda JS. Quite a dubious decision, given that nuclear power is characterized by increased risk
In addition, the reactor itself does not yet exist in nature. As promised in September last year Yuri Nedashkovsky, to start production in Holtec intend only in 2023.
“…We are very interested in the project of small modular reactors, and while we are developing together with our state atomic control and the Kiev office of Holtec International an action plan for a pilot project for the introduction of the first small modular reactors at the Rivne NPP instead of power units number one and two with VVER-440 reactors, which by 2030 will work out their design life, “ukrinformu” Nedashkovsky said.
Any Other Business
Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (the largest nuclear power plant in Europe) in recent years downright pursues evil fate. In early February, the media reported that the head of the Department of nuclear safety Sergey Klimov committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart. The investigation of the circumstances of his death engaged in netpolice Zaporozhye region, which qualified incident under article 115 UK of Ukraine (“Premeditated murder”) marked “suicide”, and in recent weeks no comments from security officials regarding the resonance state of emergency was not. It is possible that the tragedy is connected with the case, which is now being investigated at the station.
Back in 2015, ZAES held a tender for the supply of electric pumps for the station. The winner was “Nasosenergomash” (Sumy). At the end of 2017, the company delivered the equipment to the station, and it was installed. After that, and found out interesting details.
Pumps, at least in part, was not made on the Sumy enterprise and factory Elektromash (Tiraspol). This is evidenced by the plates with information on electric motors. What is unacceptable for Ukraine-it does not recognize the PMR and, for its part, blocks its border. However, this is not all-electric motors were used. In SBU even think of qualification of the incident as diversion that could explain suicide of the chief of Department of nuclear safety.
In addition, media noted that before the death of Klimov at the Zaporizhzhya NPP took place a few accidents and outages of generating units, the last time just a few days before the incident.
In the Chernobyl exclusion zone recorded an increase in the concentration of the isotope iodine-131.
“The portion of the radionuclide iodine-131 is above the minimum detectable level of the measuring instruments, but such concentrations do not pose a threat to human security and the environment”, — comments the news the press service of the state nuclear regulatory Inspectorate, without naming the reasons that could lead to an increase in the concentration of the radioactive isotope.
However, you can make the assumption: the reason could be the construction of the facility, because no other large-scale works in the exclusion zone is not conducted.