On the 20th February, the third unit of South-Ukrainian Nuclear Power Station was disconnected from the grid, the Press service of the Ukrainian State Enterprise “Energoatom” reported.
“February, 20th, at 05:45 unit number 3 of the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Station was disconnected again from the grid due to increased coolant level in the steam generator because of the failure of a level control. First and second nuclear power station’s units are operating in the design mode”, the power company said.
This is not the first serious failure of this nuclear power station. Currently, the responsibility for the station’s safety lies on the US, as a matter of fact.
Under a US-Ukrainian initiative to reduce Ukraine’s dependency on Russia for fuel, “Energoatom” had been using reactor core of unit 3 to test nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse Electric Company in Västerås in Sweden. In August 2005, it was loaded with the first six experimental fuel assemblies produced by Westinghouse together with Russian fuel for a period of pilot operation. The pilot runs were “deemed unsuccessful, with “Energoatom” claiming manufacturing defects in the fuel led to a lengthy unscheduled outage at two of the units, while Westinghouse said that errors had been made during fuel loading.” Nevertheless, in 2008 Ukrainian “Energoatom” signed a fuel supply contract with Westinghouse to supply 630 nuclear fuel assemblies to its three reactors starting in 2011. Westinghouse shipped a reload batch of 42 fuel assemblies for the 3 units in mid-2009 to last for three years of commercial operation. In June 2010, “Energoatom” signed a long-term fuel supply contract with Russia’s TVEL for its nuclear reactor fleet. Earlier, Rosatom had offered a substantial discount to Ukraine if it signed up with TVEL for 20 years. In 2013, following major upgrade work, unit 1 was given a 10-year license extension, which will take it beyond its original 30-year design lifetime. Similar extensions are planned for units 2 and 3, licensed until 2015 and 2019, respectively.
On 11 April 2014, after the Russian “annexation” of Crimea, the fuel contract with Westinghouse was extended through 2020. The fuel will be made at the fuel fabrication facility in Västerås.
By now the complete devastation has been seen in the Ukrainian nuclear industry. At the same time basic safety aspects are ignored under the influence of political factors. The threat of nuclear disaster is increasing every day.
Experts believe that forthcoming accidents in the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Station could surpass the Chernobyl Disaster and a half of the European Union’s territory is at risk of nuclear pollution.