How safe are the design(s) of Ukrainian nuclear power plants?

“Ukraine has four nuclear facilities, three of which are considered well-protected with modernized safety systems and robust reactors that are able to withstand external shocks, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. Mr. Albright raised concerns, however, about the older Rivne nuclear facility in the northwest of Ukraine, where the reactors may be less sturdy. Under the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, at Chernobyl in 1986. There are no reactors operating at Chernobyl, which is currently under the control of Russian forces. The area is highly radioactive, and radiation measures lifted slightly last week during Russian military movements around the site. Given the fighting, there are concerns about the ability to get repair teams quickly to nuclear facilities if there is an incident.” WSJ

Comment: There has been a lot of panicky, hysterical talk about this fire in a building not directly connected to the 6 reactors, but it is worth discussing the actual level of safety of these reactors all over Ukraine. pl

Nuclear Power Safety in Ukraine: What to Know About the Zaporizhzhia Plant and the Fire – WSJ

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6 Responses to How safe are the design(s) of Ukrainian nuclear power plants?

  1. SteveK9 says:

    The Chernobyl area may be ‘highly radioactive’ by some definition, however the wildlife of all types is thriving there.

    https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/radioactive-wolves-introduction/7108/

    And that was 11 years ago. It’s probably flourishing more today.

  2. SteveK9 says:

    It’s natural (and fun) to whip up hysteria over nuclear power plants. But, it would not be easy to use one as a weapon. Chernobyl was an RBMK reactor with a graphite core, which caught fire. The only people who died of radiation were the firefighters (56 I believe). That accident required an incredible combination of blunders, and bad luck. Bad design, carrying out an ‘experiment’ on the reactor after the most experienced staff had gone home … on and on … Bernard Cohen’s book is a great source for what happened).

    A VVER reactor is very different. The RPV is a vessel made of steel that is ~20 cm thick.

    https://aris.iaea.org/sites/RPV.html

    Even if you could destroy it, you would need some method to disperse the core.

    • Nena says:

      Due the russophobic sentiment we see these days is present in the Ukraine, and taking into account the same sentiment was probably present at the time of the accident, plus adding the fact that the Chernobyl incident controbuted greatly or was instrumental to the fall of the USSR, woiuld you say that “incident” could have been willingly provoked?

      It has no sens carrying out an experiment in a nuclear facility without the most experienced staff present. Sounds like an opportunity for sabotage.

      I am reading that the Chernobyl site, with its high raditaion environment would have privided the cover for the preparation of a dirty bomb of which the Russians got notice and which could have accelerated events on this “special operation”.

      I am not going to great effort to believe something like this happening in Zelensky´s Ukraine. It is obvious that both the country and the population give those thugs a damn.

      Taking into account the behavior of the Right Sektor thugs, currently making the popualtrion hostage so that they serve them as human shieldfs, the ISIS style, in the end, Putin could be making us, Europeans, a favor, bny trying to neutralize those fanatics.

      That those psychos are in any way supported by the elites in any of our countries is not but a further sign of what the priorities of these elites are and how much they care for their popualtions.

      In my view, the world was in an urgent necessity of policing, not precisely against honest the taxpayers or civilians, as has been unleashed during the pandemic, but against some in our nations who have long ago gone rogue…

    • Fred says:

      Steve,

      yes, exactly. It’s not like someone is going to turn the spent fuel into a bomb overnight, or at all. Capturing, or making some joint security arrangement, prevents a lot of nefarious actors from making hash of things, and ensures they can still generate electric power when this is all over.

  3. Lefty665 says:

    Following Zelensky’s assertion that the Ukraine might again acquire nuclear weapons the plutonium in spent fuel stored near the reactors may have attracted Putin’s attention. That combined with technical capability left over from USSR days made Zelensky’s threat real.

    Occupation of the power plants might also help the Russians focus the Ukrainians attention on reaching an agreement on neutrality. Let us reason together or the lights might accidentally go out.

  4. Leith says:

    The Rivne nuke facility is next according to CvvNews. They cite Spanish language newspaper La Razon as confirming that Rivne is the next target. Not sure who their source is. But there is a Russian column headed that way.

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