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Ukraine’s nuclear plants face uncertain future after Russian attacks

Attacks on Ukraine’s power grid took all 15 of the nation’s nuclear reactors offline for the first time ever. Russia also retains control of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power station in Europe

New Scientist, TECHNOLOGY | ANALYSIS 25 November 2022 By Matthew Sparkes

Ukraine’s nuclear power stations have been caught, both politically and literally, in the crossfire ever since the start of Russia’s invasion. But this week, for the first time in history, all 15 of its nuclear reactors were taken offline by fighting.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), near the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, is Europe’s largest nuclear power station and has been in Russian hands since in March. The final working reactor at ZNPP was shut down in September as a precautionary measure. Nuclear plants supply power to the grid when operating, but when shut down they actually draw power from it in order to run vital cooling and safety systems, which means disruption to electricity supply is a major concern.

On 23 November, shelling of power infrastructure in Ukraine by Russian troops led to blackouts that caused emergency diesel generators to start up at ZNPP, as well as at reactors across Ukraine’s three other nuclear plants that had previously made it through the war with relatively little disruption.

In a statement on its website, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said that for the first time in the 40-year history of the Ukrainian nuclear power industry, all of its nuclear power plants were not producing power, instead relying on diesel back-up generators. Access to the national grid resumed on 25 November………………………………………..

Olena Pareniuk
, a scientist working at the Chernobyl site, says the process of restarting a nuclear power plant is long and difficult, but that the energy supply is sorely needed by Ukraine’s citizens, who are experiencing widespread blackouts across the country.

“It won’t [come in time to] help us through winter,” she says. Equipment will need to be checked, which is a job that cannot be rushed, she says. ……….


November 30, 2022 - Posted by | technology, Ukraine

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