Sergey Kondratiev commented to the Lenta publication on the operation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine.
Ukrainian nuclear power plants are currently operating under high load, as many thermal power plants in the country are either not functioning due to being in a war zone, or are experiencing difficulties due to lack of coal reserves. This raises concerns about the nuclear safety of Ukraine, Sergey Kondratiev, an analyst and deputy head of the economic department at the Institute for Energy and Finance, said in a conversation with Lenta.ru.
In May, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said that there were about 30 tons of plutonium and 40 tons of enriched uranium on the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Energodar. On June 27, the Ukrainian authorities announced their withdrawal from two agreements with Russia concerning the sphere of nuclear safety. The State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine reported this on its website.
Obstacle to check
For several months now, no detailed information has been received about how the Zaporozhye NPP functions and what happened to the plutonium and uranium reserves.
“I have not seen any information about what is happening there now, whether there were those reserves,” the analyst said. - The key difficulty in the international audit remains and it is not known whether it will be resolved: Ukraine simply does not give permission to the IAEA to visit the nuclear power plant either from Russia or from Ukraine. And since the organization considers the Zaporizhzhya NPP as a plant controlled by Energoatom, it cannot bypass it.”
Meanwhile, the audit, Kondratiev believes, is necessary in view of the significant stocks of nuclear materials, the presence of which was also announced by the IAEA.
It is not known for certain what is happening today at nuclear power plants that have remained under Ukrainian control in the southern part of the country, Kondratyev said. According to him, the press secretaries of Khmelnytsky and other stations regularly go live on TV channels with statements that the work is being carried out in a regular manner. But it is obvious that it is quite difficult to judge the reliability of such statements today.
Kondratiev considers it impossible to find out whether there are emergency situations at Ukrainian nuclear power plants. At the same time, the probability of this exists, since all stations today are working in a very difficult mode.
“Many thermal power plants, which served as a balancing act in the Ukrainian energy system, do not work either because they are in a war zone or because of insufficient coal reserves. And this is a serious problem, because then the entire load falls on the nuclear power plant,” the interlocutor of Lenta.ru explained.
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