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Russia-Ukraine conflict: Nuclear plant fire raises contamination scare

Published: 7th Mar, 2022


Russian troops seized the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe (Ukraine’s Zaphorizhzhia nuclear power plant).


About Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants:

  • Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy.
  • In 2020, the 4 plants generated 13,107 GWe power, the third largest in Europe after Russia and France.
  • Ukraine operates 15 nuclear reactors that generate around 54 per cent of the country's electricity needs.
  • Ukraine has four nuclear plants, and all 15 “water-water energy reactors”, or VVER, are located in these plants.
  • VVERs are water cooled and water moderated. 
  • As many as 12 of the reactors were developed in the 1980s, while one came up in 1995 and the last two in 2004.
  • The four plants are the:
    • Rivne plant in northwest Ukraine near the Belarus border
    • Khmelnytskyi plant located around 180 km (110 miles) southeast of the Rivne site
    • South Ukraine plant near Odessa
    • Zaporizhzhia plant

About Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant:

  • The 6GW Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, located in Energodar, Ukraine, is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe.
  • Zaporizhzhya is one of the four operating NPPs in the country and generates up to 42 billion kWh of electricity, accounting for about 40% of the total electricity generated by all the Ukrainian NPPs and one-fifth of Ukraine’s annual electricity production.
  • The Zaporizhzhya NPP consists of six pressurised water reactor (PWR) units commissioned between 1984 and 1995, with a gross electrical capacity of 1,000MW each.
  • The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power facility is situated on a 104.7ha site on the banks of the Kakhovka reservoir.
  • The Steppe zone of Ukraine was selected because of available infrastructure at the nearby Zaporozhe Thermal Power Plant, land unsuitable for agriculture and its distance from foreign territories.

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