Ukraine on the Newswire

Officials: Sole power source to Ukraine plant damaged in shelling

Russian shelling is being blamed for damage to the single remaining power source to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located on the front lines of the ongoing military conflict.

“After another attack by the Russians, the line that provided the energy supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station was damaged,” Ukraine's power grid operator Ukrenergo said in a February 21 statement.

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IAEA chief: Situation at Ukraine plant remains “fragile”

Recent staff cuts at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) are raising concerns among international nuclear watchdogs.

Ahead of his visit to the plant on February 7, International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi told the Associated Press that he will focus on the impact of personnel reductions, especially while Russia has denied access to employees of Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom.

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Armenia’s positive lessons learned on nuclear power

Danagoulian

Areg Danagoulian, associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, draws on his experiences growing up in Soviet-era Armenia to argue that nuclear energy is crucial to “help strengthen liberal democracies that are being unprecedently threatened” by what he calls authoritarian regimes, such as Russia and China.

Disasters both natural and man-made: In his essay “How Nuclear Power Saved Armenia,” published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Danagoulian recalls the shutdown of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear reactors in 1989 in the wake of fears generated by the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which “dramatically undermin[ed] public trust in nuclear power as a safe source of energy.” He asserted that “the public perception of danger from nuclear power was magnified by the outrageous lies that the Soviet leadership spread about the disaster, the obvious incompetence and irresponsibility of the Soviet nuclear designers who built and operated the Chernobyl reactor, and the poorly executed cleanup efforts, which were compounded by miscalculations and gross mistakes.”

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Ukraine accelerates plans for four new reactors

Ukraine plans to start construction on four new nuclear plants this summer or fall, the country’s energy minister said in televised remarks today.

The quicker timeline aims to compensate Ukraine for lost energy capacity as its war with Russia continues. Ukraine’s government, however, still needs to sign off on the plans.

“We need vessels,” said energy minister German Galushchenko.

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IAEA: Zaporizhzhia shores up backup electricity sources

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has taken action to ensure an immediate supply of backup electricity at the site in case the main external power line is lost.

Amid Ukraine's ongoing military conflict with Russia, Zaporizhzhia has experienced frequent power cuts. Since August 2022, the plant has suffered eight events with a complete loss of off-site power, according to a statement from International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi.

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Ukraine commissions first consolidated interim storage facility for spent fuel

A vertical cask transporter at Ukraine’s CSFSF. (Photo: Holtec)

Holtec International announced on December 19 that Energoatom, Ukraine’s national nuclear energy company, has begun transporting spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s operating reactors to its newly built and commissioned Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF). The facility is expected to save Ukraine $200 million annually through avoided payment to the Russian Federation for transport and storage to that country.

According to a December 15 report by Interfax, a total of 13 spent fuel containers have already been placed at the CSFSF, which is currently operating under a three-year trial operation permit.

Background: Located inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the CSFSF is designed for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel from the South Ukraine, Khmelnytskyi, and Rivne nuclear power plants.

Holtec, under contract by Energoatom, completed the construction and licensing of the CSFSF in 2021. Transport of spent fuel to the facility was to begin in early 2022 but was delayed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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U.K. backs Ukraine nuclear fuel supply

U.K. energy security secretary Grant Shapps (center), Ukraine minister of energy German Galushchenko (right), and Ukraine deputy minister of energy Yaroslav Demchenkov (left) with captured Russian military vehicles in Kyiv on August 22. (Photo: BEIS Communications)

The U.K. government has announced its intention to provide a loan guarantee of £192 million (about $244 million) to enable Britain-based Urenco to supply Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom with uranium enrichment services. (Urenco has been a supplier to Energoatom since 2009.) The loan is to be made through UK Export Finance, the nation’s export credit agency.

According to the August 23 announcement, the added support will “strengthen Ukraine’s energy security and further isolate Putin by helping the country maintain its independence from Russian nuclear fuel.” Once provided, the additional funds will boost the United Kingdom’s total nonmilitary assistance to Ukraine to nearly £5 billion (about $6.4 billion), the government stated.

The announcement came as Grant Shapps, U.K. secretary of state for energy security and net zero, visited Kyiv to meet with senior government ministers and leading energy figures—including Energoatom president Petro Kotin and Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and energy minister German Galushchenko—to discuss British support for Ukraine’s eventual recovery.

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2023 Utility Working Conference: Resiliency and the world around us

Rasmussen

The plenary sessions held earlier this month in Florida at the 2023 ANS Utility Working Conference were focused on the concept of resilience, the meeting’s theme. The August 9 plenary, which was moderated by UWC general chair Matt Rasmussen, senior vice president of engineering and operations support for the Tennessee Valley Authority, included presentations by Chris Glover, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Chattanooga; Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s nuclear plant operator Energoatom; and Steve L. Robbins of S. L. Robbins and Associates. The session’s opening remarks were provided by Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.).

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