US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm believes that Russia demonstrates a “disdainful attitude” towards nuclear safety, including in matters relating to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZAES). In response, the minister suggested that other countries refuse to purchase Russian nuclear reactors. She expressed this opinion in an article for The Hill.
“A year ago, the Zaporizhzhya NPP became the scene of breathtaking Russian irresponsibility. This blatant disregard for nuclear safety was hardly an isolated incident in Ukraine. Over the past year, Russia has unleashed a campaign of violence against the basic principles of nuclear security. Such reckless behavior requires the attention of the whole world and our actions,” the minister said.
Ms. Granholm argues that because of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, “the whole world is facing an increased risk of nuclear catastrophe.” As a response, the minister proposed “cutting off the source of funding” for the Russian armed forces, namely “the export of nuclear reactors around the world.” She believes that countries should give preference to “more reputable and responsible alternatives to the Russian commercial nuclear industry.”
The decree on the transfer of the Zaporozhye NPP, the largest in Europe, to the federal ownership of Russia was signed by President Vladimir Putin in October 2022. Since then, the plant has been operated by Rosenergoatom (a subsidiary of Rosatom). The site is also attended by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to Bloomberg, the export of Russian nuclear fuel and nuclear technologies in 2022 grew by 20%. Purchases by EU countries reached the highest level in three years. The state corporation Rosatom supplies about one-fifth of the enriched uranium required to operate 92 reactors in the United States. In Europe, Russian fuel is needed by enterprises supplying energy to 100 million inhabitants.
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