What will happen to the nuclear power plants of Ukraine during the war?

As the war is obtruded on Ukraine from all directions. Destruction and feeling of fear are erupting everywhere and the sound of development is replaced by bombs and ammunition. Ukraine is a country having a fleet of 15 operating nuclear reactors and is home to the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power plant (Zaporozhe NPP-5700MW). This country has always been an eye-catching nation for people around the world for nuclear energy as it witnessed the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. With that, the question comes to mind what will happen to the nuclear plants of Ukraine during the war? Are they operating? What will happen if a missile strikes the nuclear reactor? Many questions come to the mind of curious people, especially when the Red Army got control of the strategic Chernobyl nuclear power plant two days after the war. Rating famished media covered this event as a nuclear event. The Perspective of radiation was chosen to cause panic among people with irrelevant information about the increase in radiation levels on site. It was cleared by the agencies that the radiation levels at the exclusion zone are below the natural background of the area.

Ukraine depends on nuclear energy to fulfill its 50 % need for electricity. In 2021, the nuclear regulatory body Energoatom achieved a 13% increase in total production of electricity and completion of the construction of the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In 1991, after independence from the USSR, the nuclear program was sensibly handled under regulatory guidelines and maintaining international safety standards. Still during the war, reactor safety comes first in priority for authorities even for the Russians. According to the protocol followed during the time of war, the nuclear reactors will shut down and unload until the situation is under control. Even if the power plant loses the external power supply, then the Autonomous Power Supply System will start working in the form of standby powerful diesel generators. The System is designed according to the requirement and a huge underground stockpile of diesel is available on every nuclear site. The containment building of the reactor is made in such a way (doubly reinforced concrete) that it can withstand an airplane crash or corresponding risks without damaging the inner structure of the reactor and its components. Also, the authorities cleared that enough fuel is stockpiled which can be sufficient for two years for the continued operation. Ukraine depends on Russian TVEL and USA’s Westinghouse for the fuel supply and the projects for exploring other sources for the fuel requirements.

IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is also closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and continuously conveying regulatory guidelines on the safety and security of nuclear facilities. It is important to check the misinformation about nuclear energy spread during the war. Nuclear power is the future of the world and in its support, the public perception must be based on scientific evidence not on false media propaganda.

1. World Nuclear News

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