Leaked report casts doubt on lifetime extension for South Ukraine reactors

The South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant

The South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant

Unit-1 of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, a Russian-designed and manufactured VVER-1000 Pressurized Water Reactor, is more than 30 years old and aging fast. But, like nuclear utilities just about everywhere, Ukraine’s Energoatom wants to extend the operating license of this reactor–again. The reactor, which was licensed originally to operate for 30 years, received a ten-year license extension just last year–after its 30th birthday.

To bolster its case, it asked the Nuclear Research Institute Rez, in the Czech Republic, to perform a study of the reactor, no doubt assuming the study could be summarized in three words: full speed ahead!

But it didn’t turn out that way. The report was made available to NIRS, and it came up with some findings that cast real doubt on the merits of running the reactor another 10 or 20 years–or even another 10 or 20 days.

The report, which is available here but only in Russian, http://www.nirs.org/international/cee/sunpprzhezh714.pdf found that the planned number of the Unit’s cooldown cycles already has been exceeded–even before the reactor has reached the end of its new licensing period.

In addition, in the somewhat stilted language of our Russian translator, “in arriving at cyclic strength calculating it has been found cumulative fatigue damage exceeding in some nodal points and bends of the reactor coolant pressure boundary and its pressure vessel in 50 times.”

In plain English: the reactor is aging, suffering from chronic fatigue, and needs to be put to rest.

Michael Mariotte

July 3, 2014

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2014/07/03/leaked-report-casts-doubt/

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