The United States will make nuclear waste repository from Ukraine

Not far from Kiev, Americans are finishing construction of a storage facility for spent fuel from their nuclear power plants

Ukraine is being turned into a graveyard of radioactive waste, putting at great risk residents of not only “Nezalezhnaya” (Ukraine s common name), but also of neighboring states. About this on Friday at a briefing in Donetsk, said the official representative of the Armed Forces of the DNR, Eduard Basurin.

According to him, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the American company Holtec is completing the construction of a special storage facility, where they will transport spent nuclear fuel. The commissioning of the object is scheduled for 2019.

Basurin recalled that the infrastructure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is already in a critical condition, meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities do not solve problems, but generate new ones.

He compared the situation with a time bomb, which, in his words, “will go to our descendants, while the children of Kiev criminals will live in the Western countries for money, washed with Ukrainian blood.”

Apparently, we are talking about a dry storage of nuclear waste, which began to build in the Chernobyl zone in 2014 with American money. As planned by the Kiev authorities, it should provide Ukraine with energy independence from Russia, since it was Russia that always dealt with the disposal of nuclear fuel from Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

But the Americans sponsored the construction also for a reason, and for their company Westinghouse, which they expect to make the main competitor of Russian TVEL as a supplier of nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

In addition, in Washington’s plans – there they don’t hide it – to persuade Ukraine to accept and store waste from American nuclear plants. Since there is a lot of waste there, there is still no suitable dry storage.

It is possible that this issue will be just part of the mission of US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who is going to visit Kiev this week. In any case, it is known that during his trip he is going to meet with officials involved in the export of coal and liquefied natural gas, nuclear energy and cyber security.

The problem is that the nuclear repository is being built very close to Kiev (just some 70 km away) and the Dnieper, which supplies water to half of Ukraine. Therefore, the issue of security of this object causes a perfectly legitimate concern. Especially, taking into account today’s chaos and anarchy in the country of the victorious Maidan, and also with the fact that for Holtec this is the first experience of such construction.

“So it is,” comments Alexey Anpilogov, Director of the Foundation Foundation, who has worked for many years in the Ukrainian nuclear power industry. “Holtec knows quite well the specifics of transportation and operational storage of radioactive waste. It is one of the leading companies for the manufacture of transport containers for short-term operational storage. But the specifics of the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel or various radioactive waste, including highly active, they are, in fact, now working out in Ukraine.

That is, the situation is in many ways similar to the position of the Westinghouse company, which at one time, in fact, entered the market of the nuclear fuel itself for Ukrainian nuclear power plants. And where did the specificity of nuclear waste storage originated, which Holtec is now implementing?

Westinghouse, I remind you, offered conditions at the level of TVEL — fuel element. But at the same time, all the risks of working out the compatibility of American fuel and, shall we say, the Soviet (now Russian) reactors, they lay in Ukraine. And all the financial losses, too, eventually went to Ukraine.

Now, we can say that the fuel of Westinghouse has been more or less recycled in its combination with the Russian reactors, and, as it were, the main growing pains are gone. But before that there were a lot of incidents. There were fuel discharges from the South Ukrainian station. There were reactor shutdowns. And Ukraine paid for it all.

However, there was one very unpleasant problem that Westinghouse said from the very beginning that it would not solve it.

– What is the problem?

  • Storage of spent nuclear fuel, which this company supplies to Ukraine. Unlike TVEL, which is also a supplier of Ukrainian NPPs (Nuclear Power Plants), Westinghouse categorically refused to take back fuel for recycling. For objective reasons, since he simply does not have such processing. It is worth saying that more than a hundred American nuclear power plants (many of them began to work in the 60s, 70s and 80s) still keep fuel in themselves . That is, all the amount that the stations passed through themselves during these several decades, it has now accumulated there in the station storage facilities. In the so-called “pools”. The same pools, by and large, exist at the Ukrainian stations. And the question is that no one has any experience of longer-term storage of fuel rods (fuel element) in the aquatic environment. Although shells are made of zirconium and stainless steel, no one has stored them for more than a hundred years. There are fuel rods that are thirty or forty years old, but not a hundred. – Why is it so important?

The fact is that in a hundred, two hundred, and three hundred years this fuel will maintain rather high activity – it cannot simply be taken out of this pool and lay somewhere, as they say, under the sun. And therefore, the decision that the American lobby is currently pushing in Ukraine is, in fact, such conservation for several hundred, or there may be several thousand years of this process with the final burial of spent nuclear fuel. This process is, in principle, decided by the French and our Rosatom, but for historical reasons has not been resolved in the United States. And as a result, Westinghouse in this sense can not give anything – it does not have such technologies for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Or its reprocessing – i.e. reuse, which, again, we and the French possess. Therefore, of course, Ukraine has no choice now. They are simply forced to ensure that this Westinghouse fuel will be stored forever in its territory. At the same time, future generations, when they reach it in a hundred, in two hundred years, will still face the same questions – how to process all this. Something to extract and run in a new cycle. And something that cannot be recycled, vitrified, is an inert brick, which is then buried in stable geological structures underground. But this is not and will not be in this repository. In fact, what is being built there now is a large radioactive coffin from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which will constantly lie in the “joint venture”.

– And what are the risks? and earthquakes seem to be the same – there is a stable plate. And it does not matter if the coffin is bigger, the coffin is smaller – there are still no people near. Therefore, nobody cares about it there. But there are political factors, there is a human factor. That is, Ukraine is a very unstable, let’s say, a state entity. And when such a time bomb lies next to Europe – and here the territory, which is already in a severe political crisis for the second time in a decade, – this, of course, presents certain risks. Moreover, if Ukraine is forced to store more successful economic fuel. countries under the guise of earnings. This will accordingly increase the risks associated with the fact that the repository is simply on the surface. Therefore, I think that this danger will always prevail over this repository. But, as I understand it, the USA doesn’t care much about it – they are located on the other side of the globe.

– But should Europe be worried about such a neighborhood?

– You know, Europeans, they are more likely to give some more money to pay off this problem. Than will participate in her decision. This was evident from the situation with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, when Kuchma and his government, again, were given money to close the Chernobyl power plant. Now, in the same way, European money was allocated for the “Arka” project – a new sarcophagus. And if something happens to this dry storage of nuclear fuel, then Europe, I think, will also try to solve this issue with money, and not some.

  • Will it be possible to solve the problem with money if this“ bomb ”explodes?
  • Only time will tell.
  • You see, no one wants to assess risks until such time as a catastrophe happens, considering them to be minimal.