Status on 7 March 2022
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops demands careful monitoring of its nuclear installations. Ukraine has 15 Russian-designed VVER reactors in service, research reactors, storage sites for sources and waste, as well as the reactors at the Chernobyl site, the last of which was shut down in December 2000, and the various facilities required to manage the accident site.
The major risk in terms of radioactive release concerns the power reactors in operation and the spent fuel pools1. The 1,000 MWe reactors2 have concrete containment structures. In these facilities, the spent fuel pools are located inside the containment.
According to the information available to the Institute, the fire that occurred on the night of 3-4 March 2022 at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant site did not cause any deterioration of reactor safety. On the morning of 4 March, the Institute received confirmation from SNRIU that the electric power supply to the plant had not been damaged by the fire. This power supply is necessary to keep the facilities in a safe state, whether they are in operation or shut down. In this respect, the safety of Ukrainian power plants has been significantly improved since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The plants are equipped with emergency electric power sources (4 generators per reactor, one of which is bunkered), and mobile equipment that can be connected to the reactor concerned. The fuel reserves for the diesel generators are sufficient to provide cooling for seven to ten days, after which refuelling will be necessary.
There have also been reports of damage to the containment structure of reactor 1, which had been shut down before the conflict began. This information has not been confirmed; it is more likely that the shots fired damaged a footbridge near the building. Regarding the operational status of the plant, the Ukrainian nuclear safety authority (SNRIU) reports that two of the plant’s six reactors are in service.
Concerning the environmental radioactivity monitoring networks, the Ukrainian national network is operational, with the exception of a few stations. Based on the information collected by IAEA from SNRIU and the data transmitted by the measurement network, there has been no increase in radioactivity since the fire that night. The absence of radioactive release is also confirmed by the monitoring networks of the countries bordering Ukraine, which do not indicate any abnormal increase.
Download IRSN information report from March 7, 2022 (PDF)
The spent fuel pool contains fuel assemblies used in the reactor core. They are stored in this pool for a few years before being transported to other pools.
This means all Ukrainian reactors except Rovno 1 and 2, which have a capacity of 400 MWe.
See our previous reports:
01/03/2022: Situation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine