Summary of an independent review of the proposed lifetime extension of Unit 1 at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant and its compliance with relevant nuclear safety standards
Briefing | 17 March 2015
This independent study reveals critical vulnerabilities in the 32 year old nuclear unit 1 in the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, whose lifetime was extended by 10 years in December 2013. The study shows the reactor pressure vessel in unit 1 has several dangerous vulnerabilities that could lead to the appearance of micro-cracks in the vessel’s metal casing. The observed wear in a number of elements in the reactor vessel already exceeds tenfold tolerable levels.
Such vulnerabilities could result in a nuclear emergency, including a release of radioactivity inside the unit, or even to the environment in a worse case, if the unit is operated beyond its design lifetime. And since the reactor pressure vessel cannot be upgraded or replaced, its technical condition essentially determines the lifetime of the entire nuclear unit.