The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Ukraine decides to cease paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal

wastes-1flag-UkraineUkraine to stop paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal : 21 Oct, 2016 From next year Ukraine is not going to pay Russia $200 million annually to remove spent nuclear fuel from the country, according to Ukrainian Energy Minister IgorNasalik.

The country will build its own spent nuclear fuel storage facility, the minister announced.

The storage site chosen is in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power, but it is not designed to store nuclear waste for a long time.

The exclusion zone is a 30-kilometer radius from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant established by the USSR soon after the 1986 accident.

Construction of the new central used fuel storage facility is expected to start in March 2017, according to a director of a subsidiary of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom.

European nuclear industry experts are concerned the Ukrainian project does not meet standards for nuclear safety and creates a risk of a radioactive accident.

In August, the former director of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Mikhail Umanets warned of the rising number of emergency situations in Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector, stressing the country would face a “collapse” in the sector within seven years……


October 22, 2016 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

European institutions unwise to be backing Ukraine’s dangerous nuclear reactors

On the domestic front, opposition to nuclear decision-making is silenced. Our colleagues in Ukraine, who have been voicing safety concerns, were sued in 2015 by Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear operator, and the state nuclear regulator joined in later. Eventually, the court backed the plaintiffs, who argued the public critique of the nuclear revival programme was inappropriate. Meanwhile, EU institutions keep on paying to support Ukraine’s aging nuclear fleet and claim to support democracy and rule of law in the country. 

New life for Ukraine’s aging nuclear power plants IRYNA HOLOVKO and DANA MAREKOVA 14 October 2016 European institutions are helping Ukraine extend its already outdated nuclear operations — increasing short-term risks and halting energy alternatives for the future. In the past few weeks, two of Ukraine’s Soviet-era nuclear reactors received a lease on life for an additional 10 years beyond their originally projected life-span. Units 1 and 2 at the Zaporizhska nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, are the fifth and sixth units to have their expiry dates extended by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator. This is a dangerous move, which violates international law and democratic principles.


Nuclear proponents, Ukrainian governmental officials and the state nuclear power operator Energoatom argue these extensions are necessary. But is it really? And who benefits from the continued operation of Ukraine’s aging nuclear fleet? Continue reading

October 15, 2016 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

How three brave Chernobyl workers saved Europe from nuclear catastrophe

exclamation-Despite Three Mile Island, Daiichi Power Plant in Japan and Chernobyl, the industry still poo-poos the danger. At Chernobyl, after the initial explosion, the 185 tons of melting nuclear waste was still melting down. When it reached the water a thermonuclear explosion would have occurred. It was estimated it would have wiped out half of Europe and made Europe, Ukraine and parts of Russia uninhabitable for 500,000 years. This was prevented when three workers volunteered to dive in the radioactive water and open the valves to drain the pool and prevent a second explosion, knowing it would mean death by radioactive poisoning. They succeeded in draining the pool, but died of radiation sickness within a few weeks. Their bodies remained radioactive and were buried in lead coffins.

  If a similar “incident,” as the nuclear industry insists they be called, happens in Clinton, do you think Rep. Bill Mitchell, the Clinton School Board, DeWitt County Board of any of the 700 workers or any other advocates of keeping the plant open will step forward?

October 10, 2016 Posted by | history, incidents, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine joining the renewable energy revolution

Solar on the steppe: Ukraine embraces renewables revolution  Former Soviet nation bids for independence from Russian fossil fuels. Nature Quirin Schiermeier 28 September 2016 Wind and solar power are wallflowers in oil- and gas-rich Russia. Not so in neighbouring Ukraine. With fears about Russian hegemony at a peak, the former Soviet republic is ready to join the renewables revolution.

“Energy independence has become a matter of national security for Ukraine,” says Sergiy Savchuk, head of the state agency on energy efficiency and energy saving in Kiev. “That’s why renewable-energy development is now a priority issue for the Ukrainian government.”

In July, Ukrainian environment minister Ostap Semerak unveiled plans to build a large solar power plant and a biogas facility in the wasteland around the former Chernobyl reactor.

The announcement came just two weeks after parliament reopened the state-owned exclusion zone around the shuttered nuclear site to development for business and science.

The Chernobyl energy project will cost around US$1.1 billion, a sum that means substantial foreign investment is required. It is part of Ukraine’s broader ambition to step up renewable-energy capacity. According to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan adopted in 2014, the government aims to almost triple capacity for electricity production, transport and heating by 2020 — from its current level of around 9.3 gigawatts to more than 26 gigawatts. Renewables would then supply about 11% of all energy consumed in Ukraine……..

Ukraine has significant untapped renewable-energy potential, finds a 2015 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — enough to support the 2014 plan. The largest country to lie entirely within Europe (Turkey and Russia are mostly in Asia), it gets more sunshine than Germany, where photo-voltaic solar power now exceeds 40 gigawatts.

Ukraine also has good grid infrastructure, including high-voltage transmission lines between Chernobyl and Kiev, says Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Center in Bonn, Germany……

September 29, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

European financiers very worried about Ukraine’s dire nuclear industry problems

piggy-bank--nuke-sadflag-UkraineHomeNews MediaBlogUkraine’s nuclear energy fixation puts its European financiers to a test

Ukraine’s nuclear energy fixation puts its European financiers to a test In a meeting today, the Espoo Convention’s Implementation Committee will again discuss Ukraine’s compliance with the Convention’s rules. A look back at the last months does not suggest a positive outcome.

 Much remains unknown about the basis for the European Commission’s decision to contribute to Ukraine’s nuclear safety upgrade program, but Bankwatch will not give up until this crucial information is made public.

Earlier this year Bankwatch approached the Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, and made a request for documents related to the EUR 300 million Euratom loan for the project. Specifically, we asked for the evidence used by the Commission in making the first EUR 100 million disbursement from the loan.

According to our information, Ukraine has not met the loan conditions and has in fact been violating international environmental treaties – namely, the Espoo Convention and the Aarhus Convention
But the response to our request (pdf) was insufficient, so we decided to take the case to the European Court of Justice. In our submission (pdf) we explain why we believe both conventions, as well as relevant EU legislation, apply to the Euratom Treaty and why transparency and improved nuclear safety are not mutually exclusive, as has been argued by the Commission.

A decision in this case can take some time, but old nuclear power plants could soon see their lifetimes extended, not only in Ukraine but across the EU. Yet, as we argued in a recent letter to the Espoo Convention’s Implementation Committee, any decision on prolonging the operations of nuclear power units beyond their design lifespan should be subject to a transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) and transboundary public consultations.

The Committee is the only body with the power to rule on violations of the Espoo Convention. It is currently preparing a report for the June 2017 Meeting of the Parties on Ukraine’s adherence to the convention and will meet today, Monday, September 5, in Geneva to discuss the Ukrainian government’s progress (or lack thereof) with implementing the Committee’s requests.

And there is reason to worry. In April 2013 the Committee ruled that Ukraine’s decision to extend the lifetime of its two oldest nuclear units in the Rivne power plant was in breach of the convention and, as argued in our letter, this decision should be considered a precedent applicable to similar cases for the sake of legal certainty and equal treatment.

Unmet loan conditions

International treaties on their own are not the only reason Ukraine is expected to carry out transboundary EIAs before rewriting the expiry dates of its Soviet-era nuclear reactors. Each of the two EUR 300 million loans Ukraine’s nuclear safety upgrade program has received, from Euratom and from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is explicitly conditioned on full compliance with international environmental law, include the Espoo Convention that obliges the engagement with neighbouring countries in decisions on matters related to nuclear energy, such as nuclear units’ lifetime extensions. The European Commission has reiterated this obligation on several occasions.

Nevertheless, so far neither the Espoo Convention ruling in the Rivne case, nor the conditions to the European loans, have stopped Kiev from going ahead with lifetime extensions for two more nuclear units in the South Ukraine station without applying international requirements.

One other nuclear unit, in the Zaporizhia power plant, could see its lifetime extended as early as next week, and the state nuclear regulator contends these decisions fall outside the jurisdiction of the Espoo Convention.

In fact, Ukraine does not even have proper legislation on EIAs at national level. This has allowed Energoatom to release an “EIA report” for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant which ruled out any significant transboundary impacts from the plant’s operations.

Yet, Energoatom’s claims look even more invalid with the latest Espoo Implementation Committee’s ruling on the planned nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C in the UK, stating that a worst-case scenario should be taken into account when considering transboundary impacts.

Moreover, a recent incident in the 29 years old Khmelnitski nuclear power plant is but the latest reminder for the risks in Ukraine. Following a leak of radioactive water, the power station’s unit 1 was shut down for two months. This unit will reach the end of its projected lifetime next year.

According to the state nuclear regulator, the reason for the leak might have been a micro-crack in a tube in the heat exchanger. An expert report released in March 2015 by Bankwatch’s Ukrainian member group NECU has warned of the possible appearance of micro-cracks in the reactor vessel of unit 1 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant which has been granted a lifetime extension earlier.

The dire financial troubles facing Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom raise additional questions about the government’s blind reliance on this source of energy, and should be another warning sign for Ukraine’s European allies in Brussels and across its borders.

September 7, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine and USA to build nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

flag-UkraineFlag-USAUS-Ukraine Coproduction of Weapons to Boost Risk of Nuclear War and Ukraine joint production of weapons would seriously boost the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia, global peace campaigner Helen Caldicott told Sputnik. WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly proposed that Kiev and Washington should cooperate in producing weapons on Ukraine soil.

“The sheer act of placing US-Ukrainian production of lethal weapons on Ukrainian soil will lead to increasing animosity and tension between the two nuclear superpowers,” Caldicott, founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, warned. However, Caldicott said she was concerned that the proposal, while politely acknowledged, had not received widespread thorough and skeptical examination in the mainstream US media and from Obama administration policymakers.
“It is almost as if Washington wants to provoke a nuclear war with Russia without any emotional and rational comprehension of what these actions could accrue.” Caldicott said that unless US policymakers started to take a far more rigorous and responsible attitude towards rash suggestions that were proposed to them, the dangers of a future miscalculation leading to full scale war between the thermonuclear powers would grow alarmingly. “I fear very much for the future and that of our children globally.” Caldicott is the author of many other books, including “The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex” and “War in Heaven: The Arms Race in Outer Space.”

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s nuclear powered electricity system near to collapse

When and Why Will Ukrainian Power Grid Collapse – UA Nuclear Reform Group Fort Russ, August 29th, 2016 Translated by Tatzhit  Mihail Umanets, co-director of the reform committee for the atomic-industrial complex of Ukraine, and the former director of Chernobyl nuclear power plant:

“The state of nuclear energy today is that we are facing disaster. I declare that we are facing economic catastrophe. Judge for yourself: out of 15 nuclear reactors, which today generate 55.7% of the total electricity in Ukraine, 7 reach the end of their service life within four years. Thus, it is necessary to recondition them.
Extending the service life of a single reactor, according to our group’s preliminary calculations, would cost 300,000,000. US dollars. Multiply that by seven, we get 2.1 billion dollars that we need in the next four years. I think everybody here understands what 2.1 billion means for our esteemed government. If they manage to beg someone for extra 200 million, it is already a huge, televised victory for them. So there’s nowhere to get the required funds.
And if you do not extend the service life, then by 2020 we will lose 50% of our nuclear energy, and by 2030 we will no longer have any nuclear power plants.
Where can we get money? By the way, even if we extend the service life, but do not work on replacing the older reactors, we are again on the clock for the collapse of our energy production. I stress: this is about all energy generation. … The reason I say this is that we have no nuclear and electric power reserves, because there are none left. 80% of our energy infrastructure is worn, worn to the bone. ……..

August 31, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Westinghouse puts on hold plans to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine

US Westinghouse gives no confirmation of decision to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine, 
Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Nasalik earlier announced that Westinghouse and Kiev had reached a deal on building a nuclear fuel factory in Ukraine.

KIEV, August 16. /TASS/. The US-based Westinghouse has not confirmed a decision to finance the construction of a nuclear fuel factory in Ukraine as was previously announced by Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Igor Nasalik.

As Westinghouse Vice-President and Managing Director for Northern and Eastern Europe Aziz Dag told Deutsche Welle publication, surplus capacities for nuclear fuel production can be observed in the world at present and, therefore, the construction of a new factory won’t bring any considerable economic benefits for the country…..

August 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The mindless media bashing of Donald Trump is a dangerous mistake

The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing , Consortium News 04 August 16
highly-recommendedThe prospect of Donald Trump in the White House alarms many people but bashing him over his contrarian views on NATO and U.S.-Russian relations could set the stage for disasters under President Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry. 
 Widespread disdain for Donald Trump and the fear of what his presidency might mean have led to an abandonment of any sense of objectivity by many Trump opponents and, most notably, the mainstream U.S. news media. If Trump is for something, it must be bad and must be transformed into one more club to use for hobbling his candidacy.

While that attitude may be understandable given Trump’s frequently feckless and often offensive behavior – he seems not to know basic facts and insults large swaths of the world’s population – this Trump bashing also has dangerous implications because some of his ideas deserve serious debate rather than blanket dismissal.

Amid his incoherence and insults, Trump has raised valid points on several important questions, such as the risks involved in the voracious expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders and the wisdom of demonizing Russia and its internally popular President Vladimir Putin.

Over the past several years, Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment has pushed a stunning policy of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia in pursuit of a “regime change” in Moscow. This existentially risky strategy has taken shape with minimal substantive debate behind a “group think” driven by anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda. (All we hear is what’s wrong with Putin and Russia: He doesn’t wear a shirt! He’s the new Hitler! Putin and Trump have a bro-mance! Russian aggression! Their athletes cheat!)

Much as happened in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War in 2002-2003, the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies bully from the public square anyone who doesn’t share these views. Any effort to put Russia’s behavior in context makes you a “Putin apologist,” just like questioning the Iraq-WMD certainty of last decade made you a “Saddam apologist.”

But this new mindlessness – now justified in part to block Trump’s path to the White House – could very well set the stage for a catastrophic escalation of big-power tensions under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Former Secretary of State Clinton has already surrounded herself with neocons and liberal hawks who favor expanding the war against Syria’s government, want to ratchet up tensions with Iran, and favor shipping arms to the right-wing and virulently anti-Russian regime in Ukraine, which came to power in a 2014 coup supported by U.S. policymakers and money.

By lumping Trump’s few reasonable points together with his nonsensical comments – and making anti-Russian propaganda the only basis for any public debate – Democrats and the anti-Trump press are pushing the United States toward a conflict with Russia.

And, for a U.S. press corps that prides itself on its “objectivity,” this blatantly biased approach toward a nominee of a major political party is remarkably unprofessional. But the principle of objectivity has been long since abandoned as the mainstream U.S. media transformed itself into little more than an outlet for U.S. government foreign-policy narratives, no matter how dishonest or implausible.

Losing History

To conform with the neocon-driven narratives, much recent history has been lost. For instance, few Americans realize that some of President Barack Obama’s most notable foreign policy achievements resulted from cooperation with Putin and Russia, arguably more so than any other “friendly” leader or “allied” nation.

For instance, in summer 2013, Obama was under intense neocon/liberal-hawk pressure to bomb the Syrian military supposedly for crossing his “red line” against the use of chemical weapons after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2103.

Yet, hearing doubts from the U.S. intelligence community about the Assad regime’s guilt, Obama balked at a military strike that – we now know – would have played into the hands of Syrian jihadists who some intelligence analysts believe were the ones behind the false-flag sarin attack to trick the United States into directly intervening in the civil war on their side.

But Obama still needed a path out of the corner that he had painted himself into and it was provided by Putin and Russia pressuring Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons, a clear victory for Obama regardless of who was behind the sarin attack.

Putin and Russia helped Obama again in convincing Iran to accept tight restraints on its nuclear program, an agreement that may mark Obama’s most significant foreign policy success. Those negotiations came to life in 2013 (not coincidentally after Secretary of State Clinton, who allied herself more with the bomb-bomb-bomb Iran faction led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had resigned and was replaced by John Kerry).

As the negotiating process evolved, Russia played a key role in bringing Iran along, offering ways for Iran to rid itself of its processed nuclear stockpiles and get the medical research materials it needed. Without the assistance of Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the landmark Iranian nuclear deal might never have happened.

Obama recognized the value of this Russian help but he also understood the political price that he would pay if he were closely associated with Putin, who was already undergoing a thorough demonization in the U.S. and European mainstream media. So, Obama mostly worked with Putin under the table while joining in the ostracism of Putin above the table.

Checking Obama

But Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment – and its allied mainstream media – check-mated Obama’s double-talking game in 2013 by aggressively supporting a regime-change strategy in Ukraine where pro-Russian elected President Viktor Yanukovych was under mounting pressure from western Ukrainians who wanted closer ties to Europe and who hated Russia.

Leading neocon thinkers unveiled their new Ukraine strategy shortly after Putin helped scuttle their dreams for a major bombing campaign against Assad’s regime in Syria. Since the 1990s, the neocons had targeted the Assad dynasty – along with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq and the Shiite-controlled government in Iran – for “regime change.” The neocons got their way in Iraq in 2003 but their program stalled because of the disastrous Iraq War.

However, in 2013, the neocons saw their path forward open again in Syria, especially after the sarin attack, which killed hundreds of civilians and was blamed on Assad in a media-driven rush to judgment. Obama’s hesitancy to strike and then Putin’s assistance in giving Obama a way out left the neocons furious. They began to recognize the need to remove Putin if they were to proceed with their Mideast “regime change” dreams.

In late September 2013 – a month after Obama ditched the plans to bomb Syria – neocon National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman wrote in The Washington Post that Ukraine was now “the biggest prize” but also was a steppingstone toward the even bigger “regime change” prize in Moscow. Gershman, whose NED is funded by Congress, wrote:

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

By late 2013 and early 2014, with Gershman’s NED financing Ukraine’s anti-government activists and journalists and with the open encouragement of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, the prospects for “regime change” in Ukraine were brightening. With neo-Nazi and other Ukrainian ultra-nationalists firebombing police, the political crisis in Kiev deepened.

Meanwhile, Putin was focused on the Sochi Winter Olympics and the threat that the games could be disrupted by terrorism. So, with the Kremlin distracted, Ukraine’s Yanukovych tried to fend off his political crisis while limiting the violence.

However, on Feb. 20, 2014, snipers fired on both police and protesters in the Maidan square and the Western media jumped to the conclusion that Yanukovych was responsible (even though later investigations have indicated that the sniper attack was more likely carried out by neo-Nazi groups to provoke the chaos that followed).

A Successful Coup

On Feb. 21, a shaken Yanukovych agreed to a European-brokered deal in which he surrendered some of his powers and agreed to early elections. He also succumbed to Western pressure that he pull back his police. However, on Feb. 22, the neo-Nazis and other militants seized on that opening to take over government buildings and force Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives.

The U.S. State Department and its Western allies quickly recognized the coup regime as the “legitimate” government of Ukraine. But the coup provoked resistance from the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, political uprisings that the new Kiev regime denounced as “terrorist” and countered with an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” or ATO.

When Russian troops – already in Crimea as part of the Sevastopol naval basing agreement – protected the people on the peninsula from attacks by the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, the intervention was denounced in the West as a “Russian invasion.” Crimean authorities also organized a referendum in which more than 80 percent of the voters participated and favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia by a 96 percent margin. When Moscow agreed, that became “Russian aggression.”

Although the Kremlin refused appeals from eastern Ukraine for a similar arrangement, Russia provided some assistance to the rebels resisting the new authorities in Ukraine. Those rebels then declared their own autonomous republics.

Although this historical reality – if understood by the American people – would put the Ukrainian crisis in a very different context, it has been effectively blacked out of what the American public is allowed to hear. All the mainstream media talks about is “Russian aggression” and how Putin provoked the Ukraine crisis as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer Europe.

Trump, in his bumbling way, tries to reference the real history to explain his contrarian views regarding Russia, Ukraine and NATO, but he is confronted by a solid wall of “group think” asserting only one acceptable way to see this complex crisis. Rather than allow a serious debate on these very serious issues, the mainstream U.S. media simply laughs at Trump’s supposed ignorance.

The grave danger from this media behavior is that it will empower the neocons and liberal hawks already nesting inside Hillary Clinton’s campaign to prepare for a new series of geopolitical provocations once Clinton takes office. By opportunistically buying into this neocon pro-war narrative now, Democrats may find themselves with buyer’s remorse as they become the war party of 2017.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

August 6, 2016 Posted by | media, politics international, Ukraine, USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Westinghouse to try to take over Nuclear Fuel Production In Ukraine

Toshiba Westinghouse

Westinghouse To Build Nuclear Fuel Production Unit In Ukraine, Oil PriceBy Zainab Calcuttawala – Aug 04, 2016 The American firm Westinghouse will be building a nuclear fuel production unit in Ukraine in order to help the country reduce its reliance on Russia, according to officials who announced the project on Thursday.Ukraine, which was formerly a Soviet Republic, has been trying to sever ties with Russia since the February 2014 revolution that tore the country apart. The Kremlin-backed president is now in self-imposed exile in Russia, while pro-European Union forces rule the country…….

Nasalyk visited the United States two months ago in an effort to find new sources of fuel and new forms of energy. Towards the end of his visit, he told reporters that Westinghouse would build a nuclear production factory in Ukraine in the future.

Russia has argued in the past that American fuel would be unsafe for nuclear plants built by Soviet scientists who operated under their own guidelines and standards.

“We have agreed to diversify our sources of fuel delivery to nearly half of our nuclear blocks,” Nasalyk said. “And we agreed (for Westinghouse Electric Sweden) to construct a nuclear fuel production facility on the territory of Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s relationship with Russia has been falling apart further in recent days……

August 5, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland may host world’s largest solar power plant

flag-UkraineWorld’s largest solar power plant planned for Chernobyl nuclear wasteland, Electrek, 30 July 16 John Fitzgerald Weaver  @SolarInMASS 

The world’s most famous and damaging nuclear meltdown is now being considered for the world’s largest solar power plant. The Ukrainian nuclear power station Chernobyl had a nuclear meltdown on April 26, 1986. Since then 1,600 square miles of land has been deemed an ‘exclusion zone’ as the radiation levels are too high for human health. But in a recent interview, Ukraine’s ecology minister said the government was negotiating with two US investment firms and four Canadian energy companies, which have expressed interest in the Chernobyl’s solar potential……
solar _photovoltaic_cells-wide
According to PVTech, the Ukrainian government is pushing for a 6 month construction cycle. Deploying this amount of solar power within such a time frame would involve significant resources being deployed. The proposed 1GW solar plant, if built today, would be the world’s largest. There are several plans for 1GW solar plants in development (Egypt, India, UAE, China, etc) – but none of them have been completed yet. One financial benefit of the site is that transmission lines for Chernobyl’s 4GW nuclear reactor are still in place…….
The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development has stated they would be interested in participating in the project, “so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matters and risks can be addressed to the bank’s satisfaction.” A 2GW solar project – based upon a global market price of $1-1.5/W – would cost between $2 and $3 billion dollars. ……

July 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Kiev’s new nuclear project puts Europe at risk

wastes-1flag-Ukraine‘Threat of 2nd Chernobyl’: Kiev’s new nuclear project puts Europe at risk, Greens warn  5 Jul, 2016  The construction of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Ukraine poses “significant safety risks for the whole of Europe” because of numerous rule and standards violations, Ukrainian environmentalists warn.

The Ukrainian Greens Association, a non-profit environmentalist organization, listed the risks in a statement released on Monday.

“We are deeply concerned about plans to build a spent nuclear fuel storage in the upper reaches of the Dnepr River close to densely populated places,” the statement said, citing a speech made by the association’s spokeswoman, Anna Rak, at the first Nuclear Energy Policy Forum in Brussels on June 30.

Rak also emphasized that the government plans “to secretly fast-track the construction of a surface dry, spent nuclear fuel storage system… close to the Dnepr river,” ignoring basic safety standards and “creating the threat of a second Chernobyl.”

Ukraine’s Greens stressed that the decision to build the facility just 70 kilometers away from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, was taken “without a proper environmental impact assessment and public consultation with the [local] residents.”

They also warned that the contractor for the project, Holtec International, actually lacks sufficient experience while the technology it plans to use in construction has never been tested or tried in any other country.

The association added that the procedure of choosing the contractor was “neither transparent nor open,” warning that Ukraine may once again become a subject to “unpredictable and dangerous nuclear experiments,” apparently referring to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The organization demanded that Ukrainian authorities “ensure that the project complies with all international rules and standards before the construction is launched” and emphasized that the residents of the Kiev region have “an unconditional right” to get all relevant information about the project and to take part in the discussion concerning its construction.

The Ukrainian Greens Association also urged the European Commission, the European Parliament and international environmental bodies to carry out an “independent environmental assessment of the project.”……..

July 6, 2016 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s very dangerous nuclear waste storage situation

radioactive trashflag-UkraineNuclear waste stored in ‘shocking’ way 120 miles from Ukrainian front line, Guardian, , 13 May 2015,  Experts raise concerns over waste stored in the open air at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, as the conflict increases Ukraine’s reliance on power from its ageing plants  C

oncerns have been raised by environmentalists and atomic power experts over the way waste is being stored at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in crisis-ridden Ukraine.

More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are kept inside metal casks within towering concrete containers in an open-air yard close to a perimeter fence at Zaporizhia, the Guardian discovered on a recent visit to the plant, which is 124 miles (200km) from the current front line.

“With a war around the corner, it is shocking that the spent fuel rod containers are standing under the open sky, with just a metal gate and some security guards waltzing up and down for protection,” said Patricia Lorenz, a Friends of the Earth nuclear spokeswoman who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission.

“I have never seen anything like it,” she added. “It is unheard of when, in Germany, interim storage operators have been ordered by the court to terror-proof their casks with roofs and reinforced walls.”

Industry experts said that ideally the waste store would have a secondary containment system such as a roof…….

Plant security at Zaporizhia is now at a ‘high readiness’ level, while air force protection and training exercises have been stepped up. Officials say that if fighting reaches the plant, there are plans for the closure of access roads and deployment of soldiers.

But they say that no containment design could take the stresses of military conflict into account. “Given the current state of warfare, I cannot say what could be done to completely protect installations from attack, except to build them on Mars,” Sergiy Bozhko, the chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) told the Guardian……

Antony Froggatt, a senior research fellow and European nuclear specialist at Chatham House agreed that a secondary containment system would offer greater protection from internal or external explosions.

“It is obvious that if you do not have an array of dry cast [interim] stores with secondary containment around it, then that will have a greater risk of release of radioactive material,” he said…..

Sources at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) told the Guardian that any funding request from Ukraine for such a structure would be seriously considered. The bank has already made €300m available for nuclear lifetime extension programmes in Ukraine, before the regulators have even signed off on them.

We know about the weak links in the plant [security]… But I doubt that that these should be disclosed

A pall was cast over security arrangements at Zaporizhia last May when the plant was the scene of an armed confrontation between security guards and paramilitaries from the ultra-nationalist ‘right sector’, which is allied with neo-Nazi groups. The gunmen reportedly wanted to ‘protect’ the plant from pro-Russian forces, but were stopped by guards at a checkpoint…….

Westinghouse has lobbied the Ukrainian government at ministerial level to commit to buying their fuel for at least five reactors. Plant managers say that it will be used in Zaporizhia by 2017.

But local people in the reactor’s shadow say they fear the consequences of a patched up Soviet-era plant cranking up to generate electricity into the 2020s.

“History teaches us that history doesn’t teach us anything,” Ivanovic said. “Another catastrophe could happen again.”

June 17, 2016 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

The media ignored the fiasco of AREVA’s nuclear waste storage facility at Chernobyl

Chernobyl storage spent fuelAreva’s Incredible Fiasco in Chernobyl

Le 17 février 2016 par Martin Leers  INVESTIGATION. The EPR reactor is not Areva’s first failure in the field of nuclear engineering. The French nuclear company was involved in another disgraceful fiasco in Chernobyl, which the press has not wasted any time exposing.

In the heart of the exclusion zone, just 2.5 kilometers from the ruins of Chernobyl’s reactor no. 4, lies a strange pile of concrete boxes, and two horizontal beams with multiple oval holes drilled into them extending for hundreds of meters. This unusual assemblage is called ISF2, which stands for “Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility 2”. It is a nuclear waste storage facility, which Ukraine commissioned Areva to build. The French nuclear group made a major design error in the facility, which has rendered it inoperable. This facility, considered by the international community to be as vital to the nuclear safety of Chernobyl as the giant arch over the damaged reactor, is still not functioning to this day, largely because of Areva’s initial errors.

After the explosion of Chernobyl’s reactor no. 4, 29 years ago, the nuclear power plant, which housed three additional units, continued to operate for more than 14 years.[1] The dismantling of these three reactors and the management of their nuclear waste is the other major project for Chernobyl’s nuclear safety, concurrent with the giant arch meant to cover the “sarcophagus” of the ruined reactor.

Areva pledged to produce a « turnkey » installation where spent nuclear fuel from Chernobyl’s reactors no. 1, 2 and 3 would be stored for at least 100 years

 In 1999, Areva’s branch devoted to nuclear reactors and engineering (Areva NP then Framatome) signed a contract with the Ukrainian government corporation Energoatom to build ISF2, a center for dry cask storage where the spent nuclear fuel from Chernobyl’s reactors no. 1, 2 and 3 would be stored for at least 100 years. This marked a first for storing fuel from Soviet-designed RBMK nuclear reactors.[2] Areva pledged to produce a « turnkey facility » by the Summer of 2005 and began construction in the Spring of 2000. This storage facility was financed mainly by 16 donor countries from a fund reserved for “urgent nuclear safety improvements” managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which also contributed to it. The European Union (EU) and nine EU member countries have been major contributors to this fund, which is separate from the fund earmarked for financing works on the containment of reactor no. 4. Continue reading

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Reference, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Ukraine sseking to renew deliveries of nuclear fuel from Russia

Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks to restart Russian nuclear fuel deliveries, Tass, June 07,
Energoatom is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked KIEV, June 7. /TASS/. Energoatom, the operator of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked, Energoatom President Yuri Nedashkovsky said in reply to a TASS question on Tuesday.

“Our lawyers are working on possible alternative schemes of fuel deliveries,” he said in comments on the question about whether the company was considering the option of advance deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel with delayed payments for these supplies. The company head didn’t provide any further details, referring to the confidentiality of the information.

No breach of Russia contract with larger Westinghouse fuel load

The larger use of fuel from US Westinghouse Company at Ukrainian nuclear power plants does not breach Ukraine’s contractual obligations with Russia on fuel delivery by Russia’s TVEL Enterprise, President of Ukraine’s NPP operator Energoatom Yuri Nedashkovsky said on Tuesday.

According to the Energoatom president, the contractual obligation to load NPS with nuclear fuel of Russian assembly is relevant only if a nuclear fuel-producing facility is built in Ukraine jointly with Russia’s TVEL.

“The contract with Russia stipulates such a condition [on certain volumes of loading NPPs with Russian fuel assemblies] but only if a nuclear fuel factory is built,” the Energoatom head said.

A nuclear fuel plant that was planned for construction in partnership with Russia in the Kirovograd Region would have been the third source of fuel assembly fabrication for Ukrainian NPPs, Nedashkovsky said.

TVEL Fuel Company Vice-President Oleg Grigoryev earlier said Russia had not received any official notice from Ukraine on loading Westinghouse fuel into the reactors of the South Ukraine NPP. According to him, in case of receiving the notice, “measures of juridical nature will be taken as the load of the US nuclear fuel into Ukrainian reactors is a breach of the contract.”

Energoatom and Westinghouse have been cooperating since 2000 under the project of introducing US fuel at Ukrainian NPPs.

In April 2012, damages of US fuel cassettes were found at the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. A special inter-departmental commission found that the damage had been caused by design defects. In 2014, the Ukrainian leadership readdressed the issue of diversifying nuclear fuel deliveries and the contract with Westinghouse was extended to 2020.

Currently, Westinghouse fuel assemblies are loaded into the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. As Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspection earlier told TASS, the department “has no principled claims to the operation of Westinghouse fuel at this power unit.”

Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks options for restart of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries…….

June 8, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment