"There will be more light": Ukrainian nuclear engineers show how to start a nuclear reactor. Photos and video
Energoatom has launched a 1,000 MW nuclear reactor at one of Ukraine's nuclear power plants after scheduled maintenance. Nuclear engineers began the launch process on 5 August, and today, 7 August, they reached the rated capacity of the power unit.
Employees of one of the nuclear power plants showed OBOZREVATEL journalists how the process of bringing the freshly repaired reactor back online is going. In total, this is the fifth reactor in Ukraine to undergo a scheduled outage (scroll to the bottom of the page to see photos and videos).
"During the scheduled outage, we reload nuclear fuel. We also restore those parts that require immediate intervention," the plant's employees say.
According to Energoatom CEO Petr Kotin, this is the fifth power unit repaired since the beginning of the year.
"Currently, all repaired power units are fully operational and connected to the grid. Four more power units at different stations are undergoing scheduled repairs. We plan to load them with fuel and launch them by the end of the month," said Kotin.
In total, Energoatom currently controls nine nuclear reactors. Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia is currently temporarily controlled by the Russian occupiers.
"In winter, we will operate all our nine power units located in the territory controlled by Ukraine at three nuclear power plants," said the head of Energoatom.
Ukrainian NPPs, excluding the plant in Zaporizhzhia, are currently producing their maximum capacity of 5.4 thousand megawatts. This is only a third of what Ukraine consumes.
"Unfortunately, this figure is the maximum without Zaporizhzhya NPP. Our existing equipment does not allow us to produce more electricity. If we de-occupy ZNPP, it will allow us to add another 6,000 megawatts to the grid and we will completely cover the country's electricity consumption," Kotin explained.
Situation at ZNPP
The situation with the nuclear power plant in Enerhodar is critical today, Kotin said. The fourth power unit of the plant is currently in the process of a so-called "hot shutdown".
"This poses a direct threat. Its equipment is not being repaired but continues to operate. And the unit operates at 280 degrees Celsius. From a technical point of view, the equipment they keep under pressure for a long period of time is dangerous," he said.
The situation around the cooling pond is also critical after the Russian terrorist attack on the Kakhovka HPP. Currently, the water is at the lowest level. That is, it is enough for the minimum operation of the plant.
"However, we do not know what will happen next," Kotin concluded.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, a power unit at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine came out of repair three days ahead of schedule on 17 July. It added 1000 MW of capacity to the country's power grid.
According to energy experts, the coming winter may be more difficult for Ukraine than the previous one. And there will be problems even if there is no shelling.
The fact is that electricity consumption will increase with the cold weather. Consequently, the load on the country's already weakened power system will increase. As a result, blackouts may return, so Ukrainians are already being advised to prepare for this: in particular, to buy generators and charging stations.