November 16 , 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Outside Kiev, they have begun to build a repository for used nuclear fuel, in order to abandon the apparently expensive Russian waste services. The authorities assure that it does not carry a threat to people, but local residents and environmentalists are seriously concerned.
Not far from Kiev, in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the construction of a centralized storage of used nuclear fuel has begun. The construction site is located between the former villages of Staraya Krasniţa, Buryakivka, Chistogalovka and Stechanka of the Kiev region. As reported in the Ministry of Energy, the cost of construction will cost Ukraine $ 1.4 billion. The facility will be a platform which will build concrete containers of nuclear waste. The full construction is planned to be erected within 16.5 years in 15 stages.
“Financing will be carried out by the operator of Ukraine’s NPPs – Energoatom company, without attracting funds from the state budget, while more than 80% of the amount ($ 1.17 billion) will be spent on technological equipment,” the agency noted.
So far, in Ukraine there was only one such storage facility – at Zaporizhzhya NPP. To date, used fuel at Ukrainian NPPs was shipped for processing to Russia. For this, depending on the volume, Ukraine annually paid $ 150-200 million. Therefore, in order to save money, the authorities decided to build their own nuclear burial ground 100 km from the capital – with an American company.
Are the savings justified?
As the head of the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Energy Strategies, Yuri Korolchuk, stated – in the current political situation the construction looks favourable, but the main question is how effectively the project will be implemented.
“Despite the fact that the construction company will be working with the American company Holtec, its own specialists will not be working in Ukraine. Instead, they will involve other contractors, maybe even Ukrainian ones, so how much the project will be environmentally safe and technically effective remains a mystery,” says Korolchuk.
At the same time, he noted: from an economic point of view, the project can really benefit Ukraine. “Maintenance of the storage will also cost money, but, most likely, much less than the payment for sending used fuel to Russia. But nobody excludes that in the future Ukraine will not want to earn extra money as a “nuclear dump”, providing storage services to other countries. For example, Westinghouse will definitely store its used fuel here. “said Korolchuk.
A significant role in the decision-making process on the storage was taken by the American nuclear fuel producer Westinghouse, which has been trying for many years to replace Soviet nuclear reactors at Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
“Westinghouse already supplies its fuel to the Zaporizhye and South Ukrainian NPPs and is going to supply them to other Ukrainian stations. And without this repository, Americans simply could not have mass supplies of their fuel going to Ukraine, because then it would have nowhere to go after it had been used – according to the Convention on the Management of Nuclear Waste and Fuel, the producer country should take its waste back.”
Is there a risk?
There are purely environmental claims to the repository. One of the main, according to the ecologist Vladimir Boreiko, is that the decision to build it was taken without serious discussion with the public, as required by the IAEA statute.
It is unsafe to store nuclear waste in principle, let alone 100 km from Kiev. Moreover, no one asked the local residents if they want to live next to such a repository,”Boreiko stressed. At the same time, he said, there are risks associated with the transportation of waste, because any train carriage transporting nuclear waste is highly explosive, therefore there is room for accidents.
However, the biologist of the Chernobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Sergei Gashchak, believes that there are no grounds for concern about this facility. “The security of such facilities depends on the project and how the construction will be carried out. ” – he said, focusing on project management safety practices.
Nuclear waste storage facilities have existed in the world for a long time, but they are usually built a long distance away from large cities. France, for example, has them on islands of the Pacific Ocean, the USA in the desert, Russia in Siberia, and the countries of Northern Europe in cliffs on the sea coast.