Kyiv, November 10, 2010. – There is one month left till the decision to extend the lives of outdated nuclear units is made. On December 10, 2010 the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine has to decide whether to extend the operation of Rivne nuclear power plant units 1 and 2 or to decommission them.
The life of Rivne NPP unit 1 (launched in 1980) expires this year; the life of unit 2 (launched in 1981) expires in 2011. The decision on the off-design extension of their lifetime would mean that technically and physically outdated reactors will operate in Ukraine. The Government of Ukraine plans to run the units, designed to operate 30 years, for another 15 to 30 years, and for this purpose it allocates substantial funds that otherwise could be used more effectively in other areas of power sector.
“The vast majority of European countries decommission their old units. In Germany the power units similar to those used at Rivne NPP, in some cases, were decommissioned prior to the expiration of their design lifetime, and in Bulgaria and Slovakia they were decommissioned as soon as their lifetime elapsed”- says Dmytro Khmara, Energy Expert at the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine.
Economically, the extension of old reactors life is unreasonable, as Ukraine even now is unable to consume all the power it generates.
“There are not so many power consumers in the country. So, only 68% of currently available nuclear power in Ukraine is used now. In fact, there are no economic grounds to extend the lives of outdated nuclear units” – adds Mr. Khmara.
Besides, the power export is declining annually, while neighboring countries are actively implementing new energy efficiency measures and their need for energy decreases. Therefore Ukraine cannot gain profit from the sale of power abroad.
Various surveys conducted by NGOs and the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine show, the Ukrainians understand the danger posed by the extension of old nuclear reactors and take this issue extremely negatively. But, unfortunately, the Ukrainian people have practically no influence on settlement of this issue.
Download analytical review on the off-design extension of nuclear units lifetime prepared by the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (in Ukrainian and in Russian): https://atom.org.ua/?p=1008
For more information please contact:
Energy Expert, National Ecological Centre of Ukraine
dmytro.khmara at necu.org.ua