Friday, December 5, 2014

Media Blackout on Ukraine Nuclear Plant Conditions




I can find NO new information on the Zaporizhye nuclear plant event. Almost all information I can find on the web is dated 12/3, or derives from news reports made on 12/3.

I can find NO new information anywhere, even Twitter feed posts are dated.

I want to know why there has been NO UPDATES on the status on a nuclear plant problem that hypothetically could cause cooling problems for the core or spent fuel?

I'm not implying that events are not as reported. However, I find the dearth of information significant. It reminds me of how ebola disappeared from the headlines after Obama appointed Ron Klain the US Ebola Czar.

Zaporizhye is the largest plant in Europe and the 5th largest world wide. Reactors 1-5 were brought online between 1985-1989, so these reactors are almost 30 years old and should be retired. There have been considerable levels of concern about the safety of Zaporizhye expressed by a wide variety of authorities. For example:

Ukrainian nuclear plant vulnerable to Kiev’s artillery strikes – Greenpeace expert (2014, August 31). RT, http://rt.com/news/184004-greenpeace-zaporizhia-npp-danger/

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is vulnerable to ‘direct bombardment’ in Ukraine if caught in the conflict, a Greenpeace nuclear energy expert told a German newspaper, claiming that its nuclear reactors are not protected from armor-piercing weapons. Greenpeace nuclear expert Tobias Münchmeyer revealed his concerns over the six-reactor Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Ukraine to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. He said the plant was insufficiently protected against a direct bombardment and that 1.2-meter thick reinforced concrete shells surrounding each reactor are strong enough to withstand only a small aircraft crash. "There are many armor-piercing weapons in the region, which could penetrate these protective covers," Münchmeyer said, as cited by Deutsche Welle on Saturday. The Soviet design reactors at Zaporizhia are largely dependent on Russian expertise and spare parts, the expert also said. 

Over summer the summer of 2014, Westinghouse agreed to supply atomic fuel to Ukraine, causing consternation for Switzerland and OSCE who were concerned that US fuel was incompatible with the Russian designed reactors in Ukraine and who worried about the risks of running nuclear reactors during a very HOT civil war:

OSCE shares Moscow's concerns over Ukraine’s nuclear deal with US. (2014, August 28) RT http://rt.com/news/183248-nuclear-ukraine-threat-osce/

[Excerpted] The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe shares Moscow's concern on world nuclear safety and the potential threat that possible US atomic fuel supplies to Ukraine might cause as the country remains in crisis.

The head of the OSCE and Swiss president Didier Burkhalter says he is concerned about nuclear safety in connection with the US intention to supply the country with nuclear fuel, according to a reply letter to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev...In early June, Gutenev [Deputy Director of the State Duma Committee] sent a letter to [Swiss President] Burkhalter warning of security threats that European nations will face in case of a potential industrial nuclear disaster at one of Ukraine's power plants, as Kiev is planning to sign a contract with American Westinghouse Electric Company. He highlighted the fact that Soviet made nuclear plants are not compatible with fuel assembly type TBC-W offered by the Americans, as previous trials have shown. 

The nuclear reactors in Ukraine are of Russian (Soviet) design, which are only designed for fuel that has passed a special certification. Therefore, further attempts to use non-adapted fuel assemblies of American production without a corresponding adjustment increase the risk of failure of the Ukrainian reactors and dramatically increase the likelihood of man-made disasters,” Gutenev wrote in June, calling on the OSCE to consider the issue. [end]

Majia here: The US apparently sees Ukraine as a ready market for the American nuclear industry. For example:

Westinghouse Hydrogen Recombiners for Ukraine Reactors http://www.nei.org/News-Media/News/Contracts

Oct. 30, 2014—Westinghouse Electric Co. has been awarded a contract by Ukraine’s Energoatom to provide a passive hydrogen control system for the Zaporozhye 1 and 2 nuclear reactors. Westinghouse’s passive autocatalytic recombiner system, or NIS-PAR, is designed to provide additional measures to ensure containment integrity in the event of certain design-basis or beyond-design-basis accidents. It is to be installed by January 2016.
As part of post-Fukushima enhanced safety measures, NIS-PAR systems have been installed in Slovenia’s Krško nuclear plant as well as at Brazil’s Angra, Spain’s Vandellós and Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors.

Adding recombiners is designed to prolong the life of aging reactors and mitigate against hydrogen explosions.  The US is pushing extending aging reactors’ lifespans while burning the fuel at higher burn-up rates, which increases likelihoods of disasters

DOE Awards $425 Million to Supercomputers Running Nuclear Energy Simulations http://www.nei.org/News-Media/News/Contracts

DOE awarded a $325 million contract to build two stateoftheart supercomputers at its Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Another approximate $100 million was awarded to further develop extreme scale supercomputing technologies, DOE said.
The new Oak Ridge supercomputer, named Summit, will be delivered in 2017. Among other topics, Summit will study ways to improve nuclear energy technologies, “enabling reactorscale simulations to allow safe, increased nuclear fuel burn times, power upgrades, and reactor lifetime extensions, and in doing so reduce the volume of spent fuel.”


ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

Westinghouse To Provide Hydrogen Recombiners For Ukraine’s Zaporozhye http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2014/10/30/westinghouse-to-provide-hydrogen-recombiners-for-ukraine-s-zaporozhye

2 comments:

  1. These have been my concerns for some time. Certainly the Kiev gov military is not very reliable and just might decide to hit one of the power plants to scare and intimidate the people of Novorussia. And Chernobyl has an unfinished new sarcophagus and no money to finish it. The US has a very reckless foreign policy at this time. John Kerry is as dangerous in his own way as was H. Clinton. I suspect anything could happen given the desperation growing in the Ukraine at this time. The US has managed to wreck this nation and does not even seem to realize it. I fear I am very pessimistic about the future of the plant given its casual attitude towards the dangerous of nuclear power.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi. Did you see the reports in the Moldavian and Romanian press, literally stating they were tracking a radioactive cloud? I put what I found together, with screenshots and links: http://wp.me/puwO9-2UE - Peace. - mvb

    ReplyDelete