4 Mar 2022 12:39

Situation at Zaporizhzhya NPP under control - Ukrainian regulator

KYIV. March 4 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Nuclear fuel from four out of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant's (NPP) six power generating units is now cooling, a process which is ensured by the containment systems of the power units in line with safe operation requirements, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) said on Friday.

"The loss of the capability to cool nuclear fuel will result in a serious radioactive discharge into the environment. Such an occurrence could entail consequences that will outweigh all previous disasters at NPP, including the disaster at the Chernobyl NPP and the Fukushima Daiichi NPP," SNRIU said.

Apart from the six power generating units, the grounds of the Zaporizhzhya NPP also accommodate a spent nuclear fuel storage facility, the inspectorate said, adding that there could also be a radioactive discharge should this storage facility be damaged.

According to SNRIU, all staff of the Zaporizhzhya NPP are at their workplaces, while operative personnel are monitoring the condition of the power generating units and maintaining their operation in accordance with the safe operation requirements. Personnel are also making rounds to identify all possible damage at the site.

As reported earlier, a fire broke out on the grounds of the Zaporizhzhya NPP. It was extinguished by forces of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine as of 6:20 a.m. All of the facility's power generating units remain intact. Damage that was caused to the reactor building of the first power generating units is not affecting the unit's safety. All systems and elements crucial to the safety of the Zaporizhzhya NPP are in sound condition.

According to SNRIU, only one power generating unit, the fourth unit, is currently operating at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, generating 690Mw of electricity. The plant's first unit is undergoing routine maintenance, the nuclear reactors of its second, third, fifth, and sixth units are cooling, and the second and third units are disconnected from the grid.

The Zaporizhzhya NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe when operating at full capacity. Its six VVER-1000 reactors with a 1,000Mw capacity each were built under the V-320 project. The first power generating unit was put into operation in December 1984, and its sixth unit began operating in October 1995.