Some issues in the nuclear energy sector of Ukraine

Nosovskyi A. V.

Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants, NAS of Ukraine,
12, Lysogirska st., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine



Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine at a meeting of the National Commission for Radiation Protection of Ukraine on June 1, 2020. It is described the crisis in the nuclear industry due to approval of the new energy balance for 2020 by the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine. According to this balance, the volume of electricity production by NPP decreased and at the same time the share of thermal power plants and “green energy”, which produce much more expensive electricity, increased in the energy market. The situation is analyzed and recommendations are given for the implementation of measures to improve it. It is shown that the main task of the Ukrainian energy sector will be to continue the course of market relations and to abandon excessive market regulation. Market relations will lead to the fact that generating companies with cheaper energy will be able to sell it not at the cost level price, but at tariffs that have formed in the market. The price of nuclear energy will be brought up to the level of the price of energy produced by thermal power plants. Consumption costs will increase, but government generation will receive more funds, and the state will decide where to direct them: to subsidies for the population or to the development of nuclear or renewable energy. It is proposed to make the necessary changes to the legislation on “green energy”; establish a reasonable tariff for energy produced at NPPs; to introduce technical and organizational measures to ensure the operation of NPP power units in shunting modes.

It is concluded that the optimal solution for the future from the standpoint of the both environmental and economic policy of Ukraine is the gradual replacement of NPP power units, which have “exhausted” project resource, with modern new ones with a higher level of safety. This will support the share of NPPs in the energy balance of Ukraine at 40−50%, as well as contribute to the fulfillment of its commitments to increase the use of low-carbon technologies in energy. As for solving energy problems of Ukraine on the basis of promising technologies — small modular reactors (SMR), this strategy does not yet have a proper feasibility study and is not confirmed by the necessary proven practice, as in the world such reactors are still being developed.

Observations on the construction of the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) for long-term storage of spent fuel from the power units of Rivne, Khmelnytskyi and South-Ukraine NPPs were made. The construction of the CSFSF is under threat because already at the final stage of construction it was decided to liquidate the division of NNEGC “Energoatom”, which was engaged in the construction. Such an incomprehensible decision will not lead to anything positive, but will only delay the commissioning period of the storage facility by 1−2 years.

It is shown that the construction of a New Safe Confinement (NSC) over the Shelter object of the Chornobyl NPP is just an intermediate stage in the transformation of the Shelter object into an ecologically safe system. In the near future, it is necessary to perform dismantling of building structures of the Shelter object, the term of operation of which ends in 2023. This is prompted by cases of destruction and collapse of building structures of this object, which occurred last year, and therefore this issue requires immediate solution.

The critical state of nuclear science in Ukraine is reflected and it is warned that if the financial support does not change properly, in the coming years the country will be left without a unique scientific institution that conducts research on the safety of nuclear facilities, including the most dangerous in the world Shelter object. Emphasis is placed on the complete absence of a safety culture at the highest level of the country’s leadership, the lack of which is manifested in violations of national norms and international standards, the absence of some leaders in nuclear industry and dangerous enterprises, as well as the
attitude of government agencies to the nuclear industry.

Keywords: nuclear power industry in Ukraine, nuclear power plants, energy balance, small modular reactors, spent fuel storage facility, the Shelter object of Chornobyl NPP, safety culture.


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