HomeMediaLatest NewsThe ability of the Zaporozhye NPP to withstand shelling was assessed

The ability of the Zaporozhye NPP to withstand shelling was assessed

08 August 2022

Kondratiev Sergey V. Principal Director on Economic Studies, Head of the Economic Department

Sergey Kondratiev commented to Lenta.ru on the operation of the Zaporozhye NPP.

Damage to the reactor zone of the Zaporizhzhya NPP or the storage of spent fuel, violation of their tightness due to shelling is unlikely due to the design features. Nevertheless, if this happens, it will be comparable to the explosion of a "dirty" nuclear bomb. This was stated in a conversation with Lenta.ru by Sergey Kondratiev, deputy head of the department of the Institute for Energy and Finance, who oversees projects in the atomic industry.

Attack on the Black Sea coast

“Formally, the Zaporozhye NPP, like other facilities in the series, is designed to withstand a plane crash, ramming, shelling with a fairly heavy projectile,” Kondratiev said. “If the integrity, the tightness of the operating reactor is nevertheless violated, which is unlikely, it will look more like not the Chernobyl accident, where the reaction got out of control, but some kind of dirty nuclear bomb.”

This, according to the expert, can lead to radiation contamination of the nearby area, which, however, is hardly comparable with the use of real military weapons.

But still, given the proximity of the nuclear power plant to the Dnieper, the consequences can be severe not only for the nearby area, but also for the Kherson region, as well as for countries with access to the Black Sea. Including for Romania and Russia.

Kondratiev stressed that he considers such a development of events unlikely due to the fact that serious protection is provided at the design level of nuclear power plants. In addition, the Russian military, realizing the degree of risk, is likely to strengthen air defense in the region.

An impact on the Ukrainian infrastructure

“It seems to me that the most likely scenario is that the storage of spent nuclear waste will be damaged as a result of the shelling, the consequences here can also be extremely unpleasant. But I would like to emphasize that we cannot now assume what exactly they will turn out to be, because, fortunately, there have been no cases in world history when large nuclear facilities found themselves in a high-intensity combat zone,” the analyst recalled.

Nevertheless, any damage to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, according to him, could hit not only Ukraine as such, but also the Ukrainian infrastructure.

“The point is that Zaporozhye NPP remains included in the unified energy system of Ukraine. If the switchgears that supply electricity to the whole country are damaged, this will become a serious incident for the power plant. For Ukraine, in turn, this can be a serious shock: if the available power drops by a gigawatt or more in a few minutes, this can lead to a blackout on a countrywide scale,” Kondratiev warned.

Apparently, some political motivators outweigh here. Only this can explain the shelling of an object of increased danger.
Kondratiev Sergey V. Principal Director on Economic Studies, Head of the Economic Department
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