Rights of neighboring countries were ignored when extending the lifetime of nuclear unit in Ukraine

November 28, 2013


Rights of neighboring countries were ignored
when extending the lifetime of nuclear unit in Ukraine

November 28, 2013 the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) decided to extend the lifetime of the unit 1 of the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant (SUNPP-1) for 10 years beyond its technically design lifetime. This done despite the fact that the nuclear operator has not implemented all safety upgrade measures and did not provide SNRIU with final version of report on the periodic safety review. International obligations under the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) were also ignored.

 SUNPP-1’s license is going to expire on December 2nd 2013. Instead of decommissioning, the operator ENERGOATOM worked on preparing the unit for overdesign operation. According to the existing report on the periodic safety review not all measures from the Complex (Consolidated) Safety Upgrade Programme have been implemented and it causes increased nuclear risks for the safety operation. Environmental NGOs are convinced that it was early to take the final decision on the extension of the unit lifetime because of the failure of performing all the necessary measures and requirements.
Experts of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine have examined the state of implementation of measures[2] and, in particular, warned that “the planned number of cycles of “cooldowns” at the unit has already been exceeded that will lead to the formation of cracks in the reactor. Further usage of the reactor vessel, which cannot be replaced, under such conditions may result in a serious accident with the emissions of radioactive substances into the atmosphere”.
Currently, the need to implement procedures of the Espoo Convention is completely ignored. Extension of the nuclear power plants is considered to be major change in the activity under the Espoo Convention. This was recently confirmed by a ruling of the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention in a case related to the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine[1]. In accordance with the provisions of the Convention affected countries have a right on transboundary environmental impact assessment procedure, including consultations with the public concerned.

For more information contact:
Sviatoslav Klichuk, a spokesman of the NGO “Ecoclub”, press@ecoclubrivne.org  +38 050 548 88 38
Oksana Maiboroda, a lawyer of the NGO “Ecoclub”, oksana@ecoclubrivne.org  +38 067 363 62 26
Iryna Holovko, Campaigner CEE Bankwatch Network / National Ecological Center of Ukraine, iryna@bankwatch.org +38 044 378 42

[1] Committee initiative on Ukraine (EIA/IC/CI/4)

[2] Briefing “South Ukrainian nuclear power plant – not ready for a safe operation in over-design period”