Ukraine plans to close the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant due to the deteriorating security situation, said Oleh Korikov, chief state inspector for nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine.
If conditions arise that require the plant to be closed, the plant and power station No. 6 will be closed,” Korikov said on Wednesday.
Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
“The continuing deterioration of the situation, the prolonged lack of power supply from an external electricity source will require us to deploy emergency diesel generators, and it is extremely difficult to recharge the diesel fuel supply during the war,” Korikov added.
Korikov said keeping diesel generators running would not be sustainable.
For context: In an interview last month, Energoatom CEO Petro Kotin explained why diesel generators are not a sustainable alternative.
Diesel generators are backups to cooling fuel and keeping things operational, but there are caveats to using them for an indefinite period and it’s a “dangerous” situation, he explained.
“Reliability issues could be an issue…because in that case they could be required to work for an indefinite period of time, and they have a limited ability to be constantly in work mode,” Kotin added.
Korikov’s concerns go along the same lines as tensions persist at the factory.
“Four huge tanks of diesel fuel are needed per day,” Korikov explained. “Potentially, we can find ourselves in a situation without diesel fuel; it can cause an accident, damage the active zone of the reactors and release radioactive products into the environment. This will not only affect the territory of Ukraine, but also produce cross-border effects.
Currently, the plant “generates electricity and supplies it for its own needs” through an exceptional process called islanding where the plant – although disconnected from an electrical grid – uses its own energy to power the cooling systems, according to Korikov.