ZNPP faces crisis as Russians struggle to replace expired nuclear fuel

March 7,2024 646
ZNPP faces crisis as Russians struggle to replace expired nuclear fuel

The Russians cannot replace nuclear fuel in the power units of the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, reported Petro Kotin, the head of the Energoatom company, ZNPP’s operator. This year marks the expiration of the six-year term of resource usage, so it needs to be renewed.

“To accomplish this, it is necessary to disassemble the reactors, gain access to them, and then carry out a very complex technological operation for reloading. This requires licensed personnel, which is currently unavailable. It also involves complex managerial and technical decisions – what to do with the fuel that will be unloaded. There are people there who have never done this,” Kotin explained.

The Russians are replacing qualified Ukrainian personnel with inexperienced individuals from Russia and nearby towns like Enerhodar, who do not know about operating nuclear facilities, added Energoatom.

In February, commenting on the expiration of the nuclear fuel usage period, Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated that the situation is fragile.

Earlier, Kotin reported that there are no qualified personnel from Energoatom left at the ZNPP. “During February, the occupiers withdrew our last people who remained loyal to Ukraine and ensured the safety of the station,” Kotin said.

In addition, ZNPP has experienced eight complete and one partial power outage since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, posing a significant threat to nuclear safety.

Cover: Shutterstock

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