SIMFEROPOL, 16 Oct – PRIME. The organization of a new power output scheme, the replacement of fuel cells in Westinghouse reactors with Rosatom fuel, as well as the further processing of spent foreign nuclear fuel at the Zaporozhye NPP are the main tasks that need to be addressed, Boris Martsinkevich, editor-in-chief of the Geoenergetika Info analytical magazine, told RIA Novosti.
“Zaporozhye NPP in 2015, after the power line was blown up (by extremists in the Kherson region – ed.), stopped supplying electricity to Crimea and until recently was part of the unified energy system of Ukraine. Now Rosenergoatom should receive a task – where this electricity should be directed. Most likely “, we will have to redo the output scheme so that electricity goes to Russia. So that (the nuclear power plant – ed.) provides the Zaporozhye region itself, maybe part of the power will go to Donetsk and Luhansk,” Martsinkevich said.
The second important professional task for Rosenergoatom, the expert noted, will be the issue of replacing fuel in reactors and the fate of Westinghouse’s spent fuel.
“Another task – in November 2021, four ZNPP reactors were filled with nuclear fuel from Westinghouse, a Swedish plant. This is a huge technical challenge – this, in fact, is one of the reasons that the reactors were turned off – except for the ZNPP employees about the properties and quality of this fuel According to the authorities of the Zaporozhye region, this fuel will be removed and put in place of the fuel assemblies (fuel assembly) of Rosatom … This is a big tangle of questions – what to do next with this fuel, what is its degree of burnup, it is in any case 5 years to “lie down” in spent fuel pools. We are not familiar with such fuel, but it is necessary to process it, probably, it is necessary to develop a separate technology … This is a serious professional challenge,” said Martsinkevich.
On October 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stating that the Zaporozhye NPP becomes the property of Russia, and instructed the Russian government to ensure the creation of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Zaporozhye NPP in order to ensure the safety of the use of ZNPP nuclear facilities. JSC “Operating Organization of Zaporizhzhya NPP” has started working with the personnel at the plant, Oleg Romanenko, the organization’s general director, said on October 11.
Zaporozhye NPP is located on the left bank of the Dnieper near the town of Energodar. This is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe in terms of the number of units and installed capacity – the plant has six power units with a capacity of 1 gigawatt each. Since March, it has been under the protection of the Russian military. The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that this step was justified in order to avoid leakage of nuclear and radioactive materials. The Ukrainian military continues to regularly shell Enerhodar and the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant adjacent to the city.
In early September, an IAEA mission headed by Director General Rafael Grossi arrived at the ZNPP. The head of the delegation of “Rosatom” and the staff of the station led the delegation of the IAEA through its territory and showed the sections of the station that had been damaged during the shelling of Ukrainian troops. Part of the IAEA staff remained at the ZNPP on a permanent basis. As a result of the visit of the mission, the IAEA published a report in which it confirmed the fact of shelling of the ZNPP.