Westinghouse Experiments Lead to Simultaneous Shutdowns at the Rovno & Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plants

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Over the last two days in Ukraine two power units were switched-off at the same time: one is at the Rovno nuclear power plant, and another is at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

“On January 20th, 2018, at 00:35, power unit No. 2 of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant was switched-off from the network for the carrying out of a planned medium-scale repair,” it is said in the release of the press service of NAEC “Energoatom”.

It is emphasised that currently at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant there are 5 power units in operation. The total power of the generators is 5,000 MW.

But in Rovno the plans and repairs have nothing to do with it: On January 19th block No. 2 of the Rovno nuclear power plant was automatically switched-off from the country’s power supply system.

As the press service of NAEC “Energoatom” reported, the shutdown happened at 11:20 am. The reasons for the automated shutdown are being assessed.

At this time, NAEC emphasised that the radiation, fire-prevention, and ecological condition of the Rovno nuclear power plant and the adjacent territory hasn’t changed and is in the limits of existing rules.

At the same time the energy expert Dmitry Marunich on his Facebook page highlighted that the third power unit of the Rovno nuclear power plant in October, 2017, was switched-off 2 times in 3 days. And on January 11th the third power unit of the Southern Ukrainian nuclear power plant suffered a failure during operation, as a result of which therefore the emergency shutdown of the main pump was triggered. The active zone of the reactor of the third power unit is three-quarters filled with nuclear fuel of the Westinghouse company.

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The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant also uses nuclear Westinghouse fuel – it was the very first plant in Ukraine to use it. In February, 2016, the first part of the fuel was used in power unit No. 5 of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

Since then, emergency situations at this nuclear power plant arise with an enviable regularity, and there is a need to stop the power units for a “planned repair”. The main danger is the incompatibility of the American fuel elements with the Soviet reactors, warned experts more than once.

According to Marunich, Westinghouse uses Ukraine as a venue for the testing of the introduction of copies of Russian nuclear fuel in reactors of Soviet design.

“Ukraine for Americans is a testing ground to then spread deliveries to stations in Finland, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria. And they don’t especially hide it,” said Dmitry Marunich.

“Thus, these same European countries don’t want to play these games. And in this concrete case we represent a direct interest for the States. Moreover, the State Department directly states that it gives political support to Westinghouse in countries of Eastern Europe. It is worth reminding that it is (the former President of Ukraine) Viktor Yushchenko who opened the door to Ukraine for Westinghouse,” he stated.

As a reminder, at the Ladyzhyn power station on the night of January 6th, 2018, there was a serious accident. The electrostatic precipitator and other equipment of Power unit No. 5. collapsed. Previously, the Ladyzhyn power station entered the top 100 of the most dangerous enterprises in Ukraine.

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And on January 3rd power unit No. 2 of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant was switched-off because of a failure. A leakage on the sealing surface of the cover-movement block on the control and protection system drive became the reason for the shutdown.

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