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What next for Ukraine’s nuclearsites and Wylfa and Trawsfynydd?

Dylan Morgan, on behalf of CADNO a PAWB. What next for Ukraine’s nuclear
sites and Wylfa and Trawsfynydd? The war in Ukraine has highlighted the
danger of the rush to build new nuclear power stations in Wales.

Russia’s miltiary attacks on Ukraine have been terrible. However, there is one
frightening fact about this conflict that isn’t mentioned in the press.
This is the first war to be fought on the land of a country that has
operational nuclear reactors.

In fact, Ukraine gets about 52% of its
electricity from 15 nuclear reactors. During the first days of the Russian
invasion, their chosen path into Ukraine to the south from Belarus was
through the exclusion zone around Chernobyl’s old nuclear reactors.
Higher levels of radioactivity have been reported in the area because
Russia’s heavy military vehicles have stirred up dust and mud releasing
radioactivity in to the environment.

Russian forces succeeded to gain
control of the site. Reports are reaching us suggesting that Ukrainian
workers trying to keep the site as safe as possible are under great strain.
It was reported that about 200 of them had to stay there without rest
facilities for the first fortnight after the arrival of the Russian forces.

Within days, we heard about Russian forces attacking the Zaporizhzhia
nuclear site in south east Ukraine. This is the largest nuclear site in
Europe and is the home to six Soviet 950MW reactors. That is, six Wylfa
size stations alongside each other. Luckily, neither the reactors nor the
waste stores there were hit. But great damage was caused to a training
building on the site. Russian soldiers have also captured this site. It is
logical to presume that work conditions there are very difficult for
Ukrainian workers in trying to run three of the six reactors with movement
to and from the site controlled by the Russians. It appears that the 3
other reactors there are not in operation at the moment.

We can only hope
that the names of the other nuclear sites, Rovno (4 reactors), South
Ukraine (3 reactors) and Khmeinitski (2 reactors) don’t become well known
as military targets hit by Russia over the next weeks. Dr Jim Green from
Friends of the Earth Australia warns us about dangers apart from the
reactors themselves in an article in the Ecologist two weeks ago:-
“radioactive reactor cores whether kept in situ or removed from the
reactors – would remain vulnerable, as would nuclear waste stores. Spent
fuel cooling ponds and dry stores often contain more radioactivity than the
reactors themselves, but without the multiple engineered layers of
containment thar reactors typically have.”

 Nation Cymru 15th March 2022


March 17, 2022 - Posted by | safety, Ukraine

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