The world has been following the story of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine for years now. The power plant itself is a vital part of their economy and it is one of their major sources of energy. But what about the potential radioactive releases that can be caused by a disaster like this? Is there a way to protect yourself from radiation, should something bad happen at this power plant?
What is the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant?
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is one of the biggest power plants in Ukraine. It’s located on the left side of the Dnieper River. Originally, this plant was built with a capacity of 1000 MW, but in 1981 it was reconstructed and doubled its output to 2000 MW. The first reactor at this power plant went into operation on September 30th, 1977.
Issues faced by the plant and how it’s handling them
The nuclear power plant has been experiencing some difficulties with the recent shutdown of unit 1. The owner has been looking for a permanent solution and, as of now, is still working to find a way to resolve the issue.
Where does Ukraine get its energy from currently?
Ukraine gets its energy from several sources, with nuclear power as the largest. The country currently has six reactors and another four under construction. It plans to increase its nuclear capacity by 10 reactors by 2030. The Ukrainian government is also looking into ways of improving efficiency by building smaller, more efficient reactors.
What will happen to the plant when Russia ends gas contracts with Ukraine?
Ukraine has agreed to extend gas contracts with Russia for another five years, but the Ukrainian government is expecting a backlash from Western European countries who are against Russian energy aggression. If Ukraine refuses to extend the contracts, then Russia will take control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and use it as leverage in negotiations.
Why the situation with Russia and Ukraine is so complicated
Ukraine has a long history of depending on Russia for energy and in the past, the prices Ukraine paid for Russian gas have been amongst the highest in Europe. Russia is also Ukraine’s largest trading partner so it is important that Ukraine remains on good terms with the country. However, in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, which is located in southern Ukraine and this led to very strained relations between both countries. A new agreement was made but prices were much higher than Ukraine had previously been paying, which left many Ukrainians with their bills unpaid because of the high cost of living.