Ukraine working to boost its nuclear capacity
Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:22PM
Ukraine plans to complete construction of two nuclear power units on one of its four acting nuclear facilities. As of now, various inspections and repair-and-renewal projects are underway. This is part of a plan to double by 20-30 the country’s nuclear power capacity, which now is the twelfth largest in the world.Ukraine plans to complete the construction of 2 nuclear units of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant, which was started in the mid 80’s. The framework of the two units’ extension, that are 75% and 28% complete, had been previously postponed due to the IAEA requirements’ change after the Fukushima accident. Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy - it has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity. Russia’s state Rosatom Company confirmed its interest to provide about 5-6 billion dollars financing for design, construction and commission of the two reactors, including for payments for services and goods supplied by Russia. Ukrainian as well as Belorussian ecologists say the construction of the two new nuclear units is highly controversial and dangerous. They insist that this transboundary project shows Ukraine's non-compliance with the Espoo Convention which is meant to help protect the environment. And the environment will suffer, as well as people will, ecologists say. Any nuclear facility discharges contaminants like radionuclides, radioactive iodine, cesium and strontium. Moreover, ecologists say the construction of the units started long ago with some of the structures built in the Soviet times, working beyond their planned lifespans, which multiples risks. Official from the Khmelnitsky region says, people who live near the plant are aware of the danger. Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia. Thus experts point out that with this project Ukraine again is in the grip of Russia Rosatom’s imperial positions. Moreover, the plan of doubling current nuclear power capacity is considered by many as baseless in the country, which tops the list of energy wastefulness.