Last week, a short-circuit at Zaporizhya, Europe’s largest reactor, saw a need for emergency repairs.
When you are located just over 500km from Chernobyl, people have the right to get a little nervous when problems occur. In 1986, the power plant experienced a meltdown when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. While exact numbers aren’t available, its largely believed that up to 5,000 workers and cleanup specialists lost their lives dealing with the reactor while somewhere upwards of 70,000 people were disabled due to radiation exposure. Additionally, millions were affected and the city of Chernobyl and the surrounding area will be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.
Europe’s Zaporizhya nuclear plant: Accident occurred last week
Not surprisingly, the Ukraine is cold this time of year and the short-circuit will test the Ukraine’s power grid as the company is low on coal in its fossil-fuel plants and taking energy unit #3 in Zaporizhya nuclear power plant won’t help matters. However, needing an extra blanket at night is certainly preferable to another Chernobyl by quite a bit. Repairs are expected to continue until this Friday and the Ukrainian Energy minister stressed that all in the area are safe and no further problems are expected.
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“There is no threat to the reactor,” Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said. “This is a technical problem that is currently being solved.”
“The imbalance of the power supply is due to the emergency repair of the energy unit #3 in Zaporizhya nuclear power plant, as well as inadequate supplies of coal in the power plants’ warehouses,” the Energy Ministry said in a statement yesterday.
“The situation is under control, and the unit will be under repair until December 5th.”
Europe’s Zaporizhya nuclear plant: Safety systems performed their job immediately
Immediately following the incident that occurred last Friday, the safety systems built into the reactor cut off the transformer for unit #3 according to a spokesperson for EnergoAtom, which runs the Zaporizhya facility.
The ongoing conflict with Russia has Ukraine struggling to produce enough electricity for its citizens with a sharp reduction in gas imports coming from Russia as well as the expected cold that comes with winter in this part of the world.