The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine has approved a ten-year extension of the operating licence for unit 4 of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye nuclear plant. The unit can now to operate until 4 April 2028.
The decision to extend the life of Zaporozhye 4 was made after studying and approving the Periodic Safety Reappraisal Report of the power unit, in which the operating organisation justifies the possibility of safe long-term operation of the unit.
The head of the department for analysis of the strength and reliability of nuclear installations at the State Scientific and Technical Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Oleg Zeleny, noted that no factors were found that would indicate the impossibility of extending the service life of the unit. A comprehensive inspection was also conducted at the reactor with the involvement of specialists from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the State Ecological Inspectorate of Ukraine, the State Scientific and Technical Center and on nuclear and radiation safety and others.
Nuclear utility Energoatom said life extension of three previous units at Zaporozhye showed responsibility, and a consistent and balanced attitude to the measures taken not only by the plant personnel, but also by the public of the observation zone, local authorities. However, nuclear engineers with long experience of Ukraine told NEI that there is growing concern over the number of technicians and specialists that are leaving the industry, resulting in a shortfall of experienced personnel to undertake essential repair and maintenance at Ukraine’s power plants.
Zaporozhye NPP is the largest nuclear facility in Ukraine and in Europe with an installed capacity of 6000MWe. The first unit was commissioned in 1984, the second in 1985, the third in 1986, the fourth in 1987, the fifth in 1989, and the sixth in 1995.
Photo: Ukraine's Zaporozhye nuclear plant (Photo: Energoatom)