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Friday, January 2, 2015

Ukraine Nuclear Plants - Resources and Information

For the second time, Russian news sources have reported an incident at a Ukrainian nuclear plant as a much more serious event than it actually was.  The first time this happened is documented by a post I made for the American Nuclear Society; this time, a house load transformer at Zaporizhzhya Unit 6 was the culprit, causing the unit to reduce power to 10 percent and come off the grid.  The unit was back up quickly with no negative effects to anyone inside or outside the plant.

Since it would appear that these news outlets will continue to misrepresent events at this (and perhaps other) Ukrainian nuclear plants, I've decided to construct a post that will give quick links to resources you can use yourself to check on conditions of Ukraine's nuclear plants.

Ukraine's Nuclear Plants

The operator of Ukraine's nuclear plants, all of which date originally from the days of the former Soviet Union, is Energoatom.  Its home page in English is here

There are four nuclear power stations in Ukraine; the one in the news recently and largest in Europe is the massive Zaporizhzhya NPP; Rivne NPP, South Ukraine NPP and Khmelnytska NPP round out the fleet.

•Rivne NPP (sometimes seen as "Rivno") is the oldest of the sites.  The site was originally named the "West Ukraine" NPP and began construction in 1973 with two units of type VVER-440.  These plants were constructed using the updated (1974) V-213 plant design that had vastly improved containment as compared to the older V-230 plant design, and Units 1 and 2 came on line in 1980 and 1981.  The site was expanded by two VVER-1000 plants, units 3 and 4 which came on line in 2004 and 2006 respectively after a construction hiatus.  A planned fifth unit, also a VVER-1000 was never built.  All four units continue in operation today.

South Ukraine NPP is actually part of an enormous energy center called the "South Ukraine Power Complex," which includes not only the nuclear plant but a large pumped storage power plant and a hydro-electric station.  South Ukraine NPP is a three unit plant with Units 1, 2 and 3 being VVER-1000 type.  Originally planned as a two unit station.  The units came on line in 1982, 1985 and 1989 and work together with the Tashlyk Hydro Pumped Storage Power Plant and the Olexandrivska Hydro Power Plant in providing energy for the area.  (The combination of the nuclear plant and pumped storage plant is mentioned in this post on load following nuclear plants.)

•Zaporizhzhya NPP (sometimes seen as  "Zaporizhia" or "Zaporozhye") was ordered in 1977, began construction in 1979 and is Ukraine's (and Europe's) largest nuclear plant.  The site houses six VVER-1000 reactor plants, Units 1 through 6 which came on line between 1984 and 1995 and also houses a large, dry, above ground spent fuel facility placed in operation in 2004.  This plant has its own website

•Khmelnystska NPP (sometimes seen as "Khmelnitskaya") is presently a two unit nuclear station with two operating VVER-1000 nuclear plants, Units 1 and 2 which came on line in 1987 and 2004 - the second unit being held up by the general Ukrainian nuclear construction moratorium 1991-1993.  Two further units, Units 3 and 4 are partially complete on the site (75% and 28% respectively) and Energoatom plans to complete these plants in the future (although no completion date is given on the company's website.)


-Ukrainian nuclear regulator

Ukraine's regulator is the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine; its English language website is located here.  News items are available as they're translated. 

-Ukrainian nuclear plant status

The status of Ukraine's nuclear plants is updated daily at this link.  Click on the most recent date.


Energoatom's Press Center in English is here.

Energoatom has a wonderful photo gallery here that nuclear communicators may wish to access.

The above links and information should give nuclear communicators what they need to find the truth, quickly, in the case of further misleading stories about nuclear plants in the Ukraine.

I welcome the inclusion of further links readers may wish to provide.

Sources consulted include "Soviet Nuclear Power Plants," David Katsman, Delphic Associates 1986

1:15 PM Eastern 1/2/2015


Additional Information for reference - updated 4 PM 1/2/2015

Zaporizhzhya NPP events at Unit 3 on November 28, 2014 and at Unit 6 on December 28, 2014 both were related to the "house power transformers" at the units -- transformers that supply power to the many electrical loads inside the nuclear plants themselves if the turbine generator is not operable or trips.  In the case of the November 28 event, Unit 3 shut down at 19:54 hours safely and was back on the grid on December 6.  In the case of the December 28 event, Unit 6 took its generator off the grid at 05:50 hours but did not experience a reactor trip (scram, or shutdown) and returned its generator to the grid at 22:35 hours the same day.

Unit 3 event press release by Energoatom

Unit 3 event press release from IAEA

Unit 6 event press release from Ukraine nuclear regulator

The event on 28 November has been rated by IAEA as INES Level 0 (zero.)  That on December 28 has not yet been rated by IAEA but is an almost identical circumstance and can be expected as 0.

1 comment:

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