Ukraine's nuclear energy operator EnergoAtom has confirmed that the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant is operating normally and has branded the publication of falsified reports and images of the plant a deliberate act to undermine the country's energy security.
|No smoke and no fire: unadulterated pitcures of Khmelnitsky's units (Image: Energoatom)
Central to the misinformation is a video montage allegedly showing an explosion at the plant which has been published on a social networking site, EnergoAtom said. Images and videos from the plant's official web site have been used "in a distorted form" with false textual information apparently to spread rumours about a non-existent fire and explosion at the site, where operations are in fact continuing normally and all radiation levels both on site and in surrounding areas remain at normal background levels.
The timing of the bogus information release - as the Ukrainian government is due to consider a draft law on the construction of two further units at the Khmelnitsky site - implies that it is a planned action, according to the plant's operator. It is also unhelpful to the country's current co-hosting of the Euro 2012 football championships and many thousands of foreign fans.
The first of four Russian-designed VVER reactors began operating at Khmelnitsky in 1988 but work was suspended on the other three reactors in 1990. Unit 2 was subsequently completed and has been operating commercially since 2005, and Russia and Ukraine ratified an agreement for the completion of the remaining units in early 2011.
So-called information attacks on nuclear plants are not new. Russian nuclear power plants were targeted in a 2009 misinformation campaign, when reports circulated on the internet and by SMS messaging claimed that major incidents had occurred at nuclear power plants at Kursk, Novovoronezh, Balakovo and Volgodonsk.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News