Zaporizhzhya’s shadow became huge –

What has been happening since March at the Ukrainian Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which was built on the banks of the Dnieper and is currently operating and not operating, as well as in physical, energetic and political terms, shows a lot about what Russia can use the export of Russian nuclear technology for. In addition to the day-to-day acts of war, the most recent item in this line of politics is that Moscow blocked the agreement aimed at strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the UN. The reason: he objected to the clause in the NPT on control over the Zaporizhzhya power plant.

A Guardian according to his article, it was discussed by 151 countries for four weeks in New York document Russia’s refusal to sign it is not only another blow to the maintenance of the global arms control system, but can also provide energy for a new arms race.

Sarah Bidgood, director of the Eurasian nuclear non-proliferation program at the James Martin Center, told the British paper that the treaty was not irretrievably broken because everyone but the Russians would have accepted the text, but she was shocked by how far-reaching the war in Ukraine had become. .

Even in the darkest moments of the Cold War, cooperation in support of the NPT was often possible. But what we saw in today’s closing plenary session does not bode well for the future of nuclear diplomacy, including issues such as arms control

said the director.

On August 26, by the way, Hungary quietly signed the UN document condemning Russia, which states that during the war in Ukraine Russia made statements contrary to compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on the disarmament of nuclear weapons, and that their operations threaten the world’s nuclear security.

Loot from six blocks

However, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is not only important to the Russians because they can use it as a “human shield” to stop the advance of the Ukrainians in the region, or because they can covertly or openly threaten to blow it up. But also because these six blocks can really be a treasure from a financial, economic, but what has become even more important in recent times: from an energetic point of view.

The six-unit nuclear power plant is not only the largest monolithic nuclear power plant in Europe, but it could also be one of the youngest in the Russian nuclear power plant fleet; provided that it can be permanently disconnected from the Ukrainian network and permanently connected to the Russian one. By connecting the power plant, the Russians would steal a significant amount of time and money for themselves: Zaporizhzhya already connected its blocks to the grid between 1984 and 1995, but in the last two decades, a complete modernization program was carried out with a significant amount of European Union support. This update would have come to an end this year – if the war didn’t overwrite everything.

The Russification of this 5,700 MW infrastructure could mean that not only the energy needs of the territories taken from Ukraine could be secured at once. But – while Rosatom should not engage in expensive, risky investments (the average construction time of 10 years is a much more critical issue than the cost requirement of 5-7 billion euros per block) – by ensuring the fuel supply, operation and maintenance, which costs a pittance, the entire Russian electricity network can generate 40-42 per year billion kWh of additional electricity. All this almost for free and for quite a long time.

On the basis of the operating time extension protocols carried out before the war, the Russians could in practice count on block shutdown deadlines between 2025-2036, but this would still make Zaporizhzhia only 40 years old, while Russia’s most recent, “prematurely” shut down nuclear reactor, Kursk-1 (which moreover, it represented the technologies of the Chernobyl-type RBMK) produced for 45 years. Currently, the nuclear industry is trying to target the 60-year life cycle of not only newly built reactors, but also reactors that have been producing for decades.

Preparing: Paks II?

However, it is hard to imagine that if the Russians stole, damaged, or even made Ukraine’s nuclear power plant inoperable, they would be able to get away without sanctions.

In this case, the prohibition and/or (even security) blocking of Russian nuclear technology can be an obvious and logical step for Europe, even if it is just Paks II, which received its construction permit. concreting will start by then.

Source: by

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