Licence decision for South Ukraine 3 expected next week

20 December 2019

Ukraine has this week held public hearings on plans to extend by 15 years the operation of unit 3 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, which entered commercial operation in 1989. Another topic for discussion is the fact the unit's reactor core is fully loaded with Westinghouse fuel, and the country's nuclear regulator, SNRC, told participants in the hearings it expected to approve commercial operation using this fuel by the turn of the year.

From L to R: Hryhoriy Plachkov, Alexander Shust and Sergey Denisenko (Image: Energoatom)

Public comments may be submitted until 22 December, and SNRC's board will meet on 23 December and take its final decision on whether to issue an operating licence extension for the unit.

Public hearings on permission for the long-term operation of nuclear power units are mandatory under Ukrainian law, nuclear power plant operator Energoatom noted. The hearings on 17 December were in addition to hearings in October at 10 locations around the South Ukraine plant, it added.

The public hearings were attended by Hryhoriy Plachkov, SNRC chairman; Alexander Shust, director general of the Directorate for the Development of Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Industry in the Ministry of Energy; Pavel Pavlyshin, Energoatom’s acting president; and Sergey Denisenko, chairman of the SNRC's public council.

Pavlyshin, formerly the general director of the Rovno NPP, was appointed as acting head of Energoatom by Ukraine’s Cabinet on 4 December, following its dismissal of Yury Nedashkovsky. At the hearings, Pavlyshin stressed that "tremendous work" had been done to bring unit 3 to the stage of applying for a licence extension, and that "there is nothing to fear" from what is in effect global practice, since 70% of reactors in the world today are operating with an extended life.

Vladimir Lisnichenko, general director of South Ukraine NPP, listed the measures that have been introduced at unit 3 in order to enhance safety and the results of a comprehensive periodic safety assessment, which he said confirmed the safety of the unit until its next assessment in February 2030.

Some 874 people took part in the public hearings, of which 111 were representatives of public organisations and the media. Among them, the chairmen of neighbouring communities noted the good partnerships that exist between them and the staff at South Ukraine NPP and the social benefits having the plant in their region provides, Energoatom said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News