Statement from the American Nuclear Society on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following the dam breach:
WASHINGTON, DC — The American Nuclear Society Rapid Response Taskforce is monitoring the impact of the breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the upstream Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Based on the best available information we believe there is enough water at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to cool its six shutdown reactors, even if the downstream Nova Kakhovka dam is breached and the adjacent reservoir is drained.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s six reactors have been shut down for more than six months, which means the fuel is not making enough heat to cause a radiological release that could affect the public. The cooling needs for the six shutdown reactors are relatively low and can be supplied with existing on-site equipment.
Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is currently supplied with electricity from the Ukrainian power grid. In the event of an extended loss of external power supply, the nuclear plant has 20 backup diesel generators, with 10 to 15 days of fuel on-site, to meet the typical needs of its reactors. The stockpiled diesel should last significantly longer now as the reactors are “cold” in nuclear terms and, thus, would consume the diesel at a significantly slower pace.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant already stores large amounts of water on-site from its various safety system pools, including cooling ponds that are kept above the height of the reservoir. Even if the water drops in the breached reservoir to pre-dammed levels for the Dnipro River, the nuclear plant has mobile pumping units that can be used to access water from alternative sources. The plant also has special floating water intakes which allow the facility to draw water when the reservoir is at low levels.
The IAEA said plant staff is making all efforts to pump as much water into the cooling channels and related systems as possible. In addition, non-essential consumption of water is being halted at the nuclear plant to conserve water. Plant operators are discussing further measures to be implemented. The American Nuclear Society commends our colleagues at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for their continued bravery and commitment to keeping the plant safe and operational under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.