Shutdown of the Zaporozhye NPP will prevent a global catastrophe. But Ukrainians will have to burn wood anyway

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Nuclear physicist Ozharovsky explained why it is necessary to stop the work of ZNPP

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation allowed the shutdown of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant if the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to shell it. This will reduce the scale of the catastrophe when Ukrainian shells hit the reactors. But without electricity from the Zaporizhzhya NPP, Ukraine will have a hard time.

Shutdown of the Zaporozhye NPP will prevent a global catastrophe.  But Ukrainians will have to burn wood anyway

The Russian military is considering stopping the operation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and mothballing production if its shelling does not stop. The fifth and sixth power units remaining in operation will be transferred to the so-called cold reserve, which will lead to a complete shutdown of the nuclear power plant, the Defense Ministry said.

The only true way out

Andrey Ozharovsky, a nuclear physicist and member of the Russian Social and Ecological Union’s radioactive waste safety program, explained to 360 that the shutdown of the Zaporozhye NPP reactors is justified from a safety point of view. Moreover, the expert called the conservation of the ZNPP the only right decision until the hostilities in the region cease.

When the reactors are in a state of generating electricity – in the so-called hot state – the temperature of the water in them reaches 300 degrees, and the pressure is 16 megapascals.

If the primary circuit of the reactor and its pipelines are damaged, a significant part – 20-25% – of the contents of the reactor is simply spit out into the atmosphere, and conditions are obtained for propagation over hundreds of kilometers

Andrey Ozharovsky

nuclear physicist.

If the reactor is stopped, transferred to a cold mode, the pressure drops, and the water cools to room temperature. If a bomb hits an idle reactor, it will also have critical consequences, but their scale will be much smaller.

“Its destruction also leads to a radiation catastrophe, the release of radionuclides into the environment. But, firstly, their number is less, and secondly, the radius of expansion is smaller. It can be assumed that this is several hundred meters – as when a shell hits an ordinary fertilizer warehouse, ”Ozharovsky emphasized.

Ukrainians will be left without electricity

Of the six reactors at the Zaporozhye NPP, two have been operating in the last month. And on August 18, the head of the region said that now only one is working. This is explained by the fact that a significant part of Ukrainian enterprises that consumed electricity from ZNPP are damaged and do not work.

The operation of the last reactor is kept both to maintain the operation of the nuclear power plant and to distribute energy, including on the territory of Ukraine. The main damage, according to Ozharovsky, from a possible shutdown of the nuclear power plant will be on ordinary Ukrainians, who will be left without electricity.

There is a possibility that consumers of electricity will suffer in the event of shutdown of the ZNPP. But, it seems to me that this damage is worth it in order to minimize the possible consequences of a radiation accident.

Andrei Ozharovsky.

Ukrainian political scientist and economist Oleksandr Dudchak added in an interview with 360 that now the shutdown of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant will not be as critical as it could be a few months ago, because many enterprises in Ukraine simply closed or ceased to exist.

“Ukraine has lost a huge number of businesses, and another 10 million people have left the country in the last six months, so [отключение ЗАЭС] will not be a disaster,” he said.

However, the problem of shortage of energy resources in the upcoming autumn and winter will in any case confront Ukraine – and the loss of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant could have very serious consequences in the long term. Ukraine, according to Dudchak, it’s time to think about how people will replace electricity and gas with the onset of cold weather.

“You can cut firewood, of course, but not all of Ukraine can be provided with Carpathian forests. I have been saying for a long time that it is already necessary to buy potbelly stoves and distribute poplars that grow along the roads among the residents of apartment buildings, so that they know who to cut what for this winter, ”he concluded.

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