The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is not directly affected by the floods in Ukraine. But in the medium term there could be problems with the cooling.
According to a reactor safety expert, the safety of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia is in danger in the medium term after the destruction of a dam. The water supply for the cooling systems is guaranteed for a few months despite the dam bursting, said Nikolaus Müllner from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna.
But in view of the acts of war, it is questionable whether this time window can be used to develop alternative water sources, said the head of the Institute for Safety and Risk Sciences of the German Press Agency. “It’s obviously a threatening situation,” he said.
In addition, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi had warned that the large cooling pond of the nuclear power plant could be damaged by the warring parties. In addition, according to Grossi and Greenpeace activists, there is a risk that the dyke around the pond will come under excessive pressure and be damaged due to the changed water levels.
AKW is right on the front line
On Tuesday, both Ukraine and Russia reported serious damage to the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station in Russian-held territory on the Dnipro River, blaming each other. However, the floods do not directly affect the Russian-controlled nuclear power plant, which is more than 100 kilometers upstream.
But Europe’s largest nuclear power plant draws water from the dammed Dnipro River to cool the six decommissioned reactors and nuclear waste. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the level of this reservoir could soon drop so low that no more water can be pumped out of it. However, the nuclear power plant has a cooling pond about two by three kilometers in size, as well as smaller cooling ponds, channels and wells with which the cooling systems can continue to operate for months to prevent catastrophic overheating as in Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima (2011).
Under normal circumstances, this time window is sufficient to lower the intake pipes in the Dnipro reservoir, said Müllner. However, it is difficult to assess whether this is currently possible, “because the nuclear power plant is right on the front line,” said the expert.
Status reports of the IAEA GRS overview map of the cooling and spray ponds
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.