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Dangerous priorities. What are representatives of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and the Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" doing in the midst of energy terrorism?

Dangerous priorities. What are representatives of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and the Energy Generating Company © Getty Images

Ukrainian energy industry is suffering and is trying to resume operations after the devastating consequences of the destruction. In addition, it is looking for components, protective equipment and opportunities for energy distribution... But there is always room for dreams!

The main dreamers of the country sit in the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom"). Putting aside all the essentials, through the hands of politicians in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, they finally sent to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Energoatom’s favorite project on the completion of the third and fourth units of the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant.

Moreover, they didn’t even bother too much, having written in the project the figures for the completion of the nuclear power plant from 2018. But they honestly wrote that the calculation figures are complete nonsense and will then be carefully corrected (reformatted). But what other numbers will they be corrected to? It is worth noting that the officials themselves have no idea. Considering that the feasibility study six years ago was not very realistic (the price was reduced by at least half), it turned out to be a typical sale of a pig in a poke.

The submission of the project coincided with renewed energy terror, so the priority of the document raised even more questions. In the coming years, the energy system does not need the weakly maneuverable nuclear power capacities at all. Moreover, there is no money for completion and none is expected in the coming years. But this does not mean that you cannot get large sums of money by simulating work in this direction.

In order to somehow justify themselves, the initiators of the project, in the best traditions of Baron Munchausen, fantasized that in 2050 the energy system would have 100 million kW of power, including 23 million from nuclear power plants. Everything is “normal” here – these figures are included in the so-called Energy Strategy, which triumphantly failed in London, causing “zero interest” from investors.

And all this fuss is happening at a time when the system needs distributed energy, and not abandoned ruins and money stuck somewhere for many years.

One of the blocks of the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant, the fourth, can generally be designed as an optical illusion. You can see its ruins and even touch them, and in order to complete the construction work there, you must at least clear the construction site of them. Actually, despite a bunch of statements, they never intended to build it, and even now little has changed. But I really want to at least try to “master the management” of a lot of money.

The compilers, in the best traditions of the 90s, also deceived local district councils. According to the law, they need to allocate 10% of the construction cost for social security in the 30-kilometer zone around the nuclear power plant (according to the previous feasibility study, it was more than seven billion UAH). The ministry proposes to reduce payments twenty times – to 0.5% of the cost. By the way, in the explanatory note they did not specify the new figure, modestly writing “up to 10%,” and it’s true – half a percent is less than ten.

This looks like a justification at the level of “to whom I owe, I forgive everyone.” They wrote that since the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" bears a large social burden on compensating the population’s tariffs, which is absolutely true, it means that it cannot pay the locals either. Therefore (and really, why not make such a decision) the social burden from the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") must be completely transferred to the budget of Ukraine. Bingo!

Although a small nuance is missed. When local councils previously agreed on construction permits, they agreed on a social package of 10%. Only for the third block, the construction of which is still more or less realistic, obligations to Netishinska (where, by the way, nuclear scientists live) and Iziaslavska district councils are reduced from UAH 3.7 billion to less than UAH 200 million. The difference is noticeable, which is why they want to formalize this step as a separate law. So that representatives of the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" can then, sadly roll their eyes, answer that it’s all not them, but the machinations of parliament.

But if this innovation is a “minor violation,” then a number of points lead to more serious criminal charges.

Thus, it is assumed that the new units will operate for as long as 80 years – half a century of the main term, and then another 30 years of extended life. In general, until the early 2100s.

At the same time, firstly, in fact and according to the design, the first block is designed to last only 30 years, and secondly, the designer a year ago claimed that the foundation would last only 50 years. And even here there was quite a shock, because the condition of the foundation of the 4th block is unknown to anyone at all, namely that it has been flooded with water for about 20 years, together with the lower floors. Since pumping out this water was expensive and no one needed it, all management teams of the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") for years signed any relevant conclusions about its condition, while the designers themselves engaged in outright forgery.

The forgery looked simple: several experts came to the nuclear power plant, walked only around the 3rd block, made an assessment of it and honestly concluded that it would be appropriate to study the issue deeper and more expensively. Then the experts approached the ruins of the fourth block, admired the rays of light on the water and clearly saw in the depths of the lower levels that the overall condition of the structure was simply wonderful. So, according to the reports, it turned out that BOTH blocks were inspected and assessed. After which representatives of the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom", referring to the authority of experts, stated from the beginning of the tenth years that concrete only gains strength in water. No, it was not the current head of the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom", Petro Kotin, who started this.

In theory, those who made such reports after April 26, 1986 should be held seriously accountable. But our “regulators” explain: “You understand, no one will finish building this nonsense (that is, block No. 4), anyway, why should we aggravate relations with the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" out of the blue? If it comes to real construction, then we will solve the problem. Again, we don’t have other designers, and the salary there doesn’t matter anyway. So, in the absence of a stamp…”

Well, we're closer to actual construction than ever before. I would really like to hear what our regulators have to say now.

To make matters worse, they are planning to install a third type of rectors in these unfortunate blocks. In 2006, the main completion contractor was supposed to be the Russian management company of the engineering division of the Rosatom State Corporation, Atomstroyexport. At the same time, an assessment of the technical condition of the blocks was made. Since then it has been rewritten. Thus, writing a new assessment of the technical condition for almost twenty years has not worked out. The readiness of blocks is still the same as in 1990, that is, about 30% for the 3rd and 10% for the 4th.

But the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" prefers to operate with more joyful and suitable figures for the so-called construction readiness. In their documents, the 3rd block is “ready” by as much as 70%. And the current minister, Herman Halushchenko, has already promised to complete it in 2.5 years.

To be fair, even the head of the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" did not dare to publicly support “fairy tales” of such a scale. Even the optimistic feasibility study of 2018 says five years, and at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant itself, where there are even fewer illusions, statements were made about at least six years of construction.

As we have already written, the main scenario for political leaders is to buy unnecessary equipment from Bulgaria. Negotiations have been going on for more than a year, and so far progress is visible only in the price of this matter. The initial price was “at least 602 million euros”, then the price was raised to a billion, and now they decided to use the phrase “from 750 million and above” without unnecessary specifics, sometimes even charging up to a billion.

Petro Kotin at the end of March covered the progress of the negotiations as follows: “... the Bulgarian side is constantly striving to achieve greater benefits for themselves than these 600 million... the more time passes, the higher prices they voice, but we are still focused on the price of 600 million "

So, the price has not yet been determined. Money to pay for it has not been found - our officials do not say anything to the Ukrainian people, they tell the Bulgarians that this will be money from the European Union, the question is whether the European Union knows about this. But Petro Borysovych has already set the builders and the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant task of preparing for installation in June of this year.

To quote Kotin, the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") will be ready to begin commissioning work on the new reactor in two to three years.” Explaining Kotin’s words, two to three years is the period required to manufacture a turbine for a power unit, and commissioning work is anything in any time frame.

As expected, no work is planned on the 4th unit, undoubtedly temporarily: “The second reactor will be installed later.” Well, it’s understandable that it will be installed later, because we still have to pump water out of the ruins.

It is curious that at the same time Kotin does not forget about the Kharkov “Turboatom”: “Energoatom” is conducting preliminary negotiations with General Electric (GE.N) and is opening a new page for the construction of turbines.” Previously it was assumed that the turbines would be from Kharkov. Actually, there is already some groundwork for creating a turbine for the 3rd unit. But the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") has no time for localization and support for Kharkiv residents.

By the way, the construction of American, Korean and possibly French reactors is now expected in Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. At the same time, locals everywhere have already achieved localization of at least 65–70%. But it seems that the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") has its own way here too.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to voice it publicly? Starting with a story about the repair of the turbine of the 2nd unit at the same Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant. Where is the main claim that they want to do the repairs cheaper than the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") wants. You understand what the priorities are.

Therefore, discussion of the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant completion project should not become a formality. These are tens of billions of UAH, new tariffs for the population, new problems with unclear benefits and necessity. Considering the current losses of the energy system, both the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company "Energoatom" (SE NNEGC "Energoatom") should definitely have different priorities.

Read this article in Ukrainian and russian.

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