The use of a new ultrasound scanning technique has revealed even more cracks and defects in the coolant pipes at Chernobyl 3.
Following a planned outage, the unit was due to restart last October but this was deferred after the discovery of 19 flaws in 135 pipe welds previously thought to be safe. The Environ-ment Ministry is now considering using the new method to examine all the pipes which could delay completion of the outage for several more months.
Officials have hinted that this long outage could be used to modernise the unit so that it could operate for a further decade. However, this would involve retubing the core which would be expensive and require Russian help.