Ukraine: Current status of nuclear power installations

Zaporizhzhia Ukraine

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine. Image: Ralf1969, Wikimedia Commons

As the war in Ukraine persists, the NEA collects information from verifiable and reliable sources to support its members’ efforts to maintain an understanding of the state of nuclear safety and radiological protection in that country. Because our Ukrainian colleagues are faced with a highly uncertain, ever-changing and very challenging situation it is to be expected that obtaining detailed information on a regular basis may not be possible.

Electricity grid

  • The electricity grids of Ukraine and Moldova were successfully synchronised with the Continental European Grid on 16 March.

Nuclear power plants

  • In Ukraine 15 pressurised water reactors of Russian VVER design are operated by the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom” at four plants. These plants operate under nuclear safety regulations implemented by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU).

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has six reactors.

  • 18 September: A backup power line to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disconnected for reasons as yet unknown. The line is used to supply the plant with the electricity necessary for the cooling of the units in cold shutdown, should the regular line fail.
  • 16 September: A regular 750/330 kilovolt (kV) power line to the national grid was restored and was being used to provide the plant with power required for its safety functions.
  • 13 September: The last reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that had continued operating has now entered a cold shutdown state. The reactor was shut down after the restoration of a 330 kilovolt (kV) power line which enabled the plant to access electricity from the grid. A 750/330 kV line has now also been restored and it is being used to provide the plant with power required for its safety functions, with the restored 330 kV line held in reserve. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that the two restored lines can both receive power from the grid through the switchyard of a nearby thermal power station.
  • 12 September: Based on information provided by Energoatom NAEC to the SNRIU, in the early hours of 11 September Unit No. 6, the last operating reactor at the site, was disconnected from the power grid. Shortly afterwards, a back-up power line was restored, allowing for an external electricity supply to enable the cooling and transition to the "cold stop" state.
  • 7 September: Renewed shelling in and around Zaporizhzhia damaged a back-up power line between the power plant and a nearby thermal power station.
  • 6 September: The IAEA published a report on the current state of the plant’s safety and security.
  • 29 August: An IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant took place.
  • 26 August: As a result of the power outages, the last two operating reactor units were disconnected from the electricity grid and their emergency protection systems were triggered; all safety systems remained operational.
  • Plant staff continued carrying out work on connecting power units No. 5 and No. 6 of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the electricity grid, connecting one on 26 August.
  • 25 August: Subsequent reports have highlighted that two of the four high voltage (750 kV) offsite power lines to the site were damaged. Another high voltage line is on standby. The operator informed the IAEA that the plant’s off-site power needs could be provided with one power line and that diesel generators were also ready and functional to provide back-up power if required. This line was damaged on 25 August.
  • 25 August: Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom reports that its staff continue to operate the facility, but under extremely stressful conditions. Additionally, the nuclear safety regulator SNRIU has indicated that it is no longer in a position to oversee nuclear safety at the site.
  • 4 March: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shelled on the night of 4 March but the resulting fire was extinguished and had no impact on essential equipment. The plant management is now under orders from the commander of the Russian forces that took control of the site.
  • The NEA continues to monitor closely the situation related to the work conditions at the plant. Human performance is a key contributor to the safe operation of nuclear facilities. Extended periods of stressful work conditions with sub-standard levels of workforce capacity, particularly in safety sensitive or critical positions, can pose a risk to the secure and efficient operation of a nuclear power plant.

Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant has two existing reactors and two reactors under construction.

  • 13 September: Two reactors were in operation on 13 September
  • 12 September: The Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant was inspected by the IAEA within the framework of the Agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The inspection was carried out by the IAEA with the participation of the inspector of the State Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission. The purpose of the inspection was to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and information on the design of the nuclear installation provided to Ukraine in accordance with the Agreement.
  • 11 March: Khmelnytskyi NPP was inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 March under the agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The inspection was carried out by inspectors of the Agency with the participation of an SNRIU inspector. The purpose of the inspection was to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and information on the design of the nuclear installation provided to Ukraine in accordance with the Agreement.

Rivne nuclear power plant has four reactors. 

  • 13 September: Three of these reactors were in operation as of 13 September.
  • 22 July: Rivne NPP was inspected by the IAEA under the agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The inspection was carried out by inspectors of the Agency with the participation of an SNRIU inspector. The purpose of the inspection was to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and information on the design of the nuclear installation provided to Ukraine in accordance with the Agreement.

South Ukraine nuclear power plant has three reactors.

  • 19 September: Shelling caused an explosion near the plant, impacting three power lines, but not those connecting the plant to the grid, and damaging windows at the site. All three reactors remained in operation.
  • 13 September: Three of these reactors were in operation on 13 September. 

Chernobyl exclusion zone

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant consisted of 4 operating units and 2 under construction at the time of the accident in April 1986 in Unit 4. It is also the site for an Interim Spent Fuel Facility and a Central Spent Fuel Facility.

  • Unit 1 is being decommissioned; Unit 2 was closed in March 1999; Unit 3 was closed in December 2000; Unit 4, the site of the accident, was initially protected by a Sarcophagus. A New Safe Confinement was built to enclose the existing sarcophagus and moved into position in 2016; Units 5 and 6 were under construction at the time of accident, but were never finished.
  • Construction was completed of an Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility in 2017. The facility stores and processes spent fuel assemblies from Units 1, 2, and 3.
  • The Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF),  is a dry storage site for used nuclear fuel assemblies from the reactors at KhmelnytskyiRivne and South Ukraine.
  • 25 February: Following reports of higher radiation measurements at the Chernobyl site, Ukraine’s regulatory authority stated that they may have been caused by heavy military vehicles stirring up soil still contaminated from the 1986 accident. The readings reported by the regulator – of up to 9,46 microSieverts per hour – are low and remain within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established, and were therefore judged by the IAEA to not pose any danger to the public.
  • 27 February: No increase in ambient dose rate has been detected in European countries, via the European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP).
  • 9 March: The SNRIU informed international partners that the Chernobyl plant had been disconnected from the electricity grid and lost its supply of external power. The SNRIU reported that backup diesel generators were running and had 48 hours of fuel.
  • 13 March: The State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom announced that two of the damaged electricity lines were now repaired and delivering all required off-site power to the Chernobyl plant.
  • 31 March: The Russian forces that had been in control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) since 24 February had, in writing, transferred control of the NPP to Ukrainian personnel.
  • Ukraine informed the IAEA that during the occupation the site’s analytical laboratories for radiation monitoring had been destroyed and analytical instruments stolen, broken or otherwise disabled.
  • 11 May: Remote transmission of safeguards data from the plant to the IAEA was fully re-established and radiation detectors were once again transmitting data from the area around the plant.

National Science Center, Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology

The Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology is the site of an experimental nuclear reactor used for research and to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use. The installation was placed in a deep subcritical state (“long-term shutdown”) mode on 24 February 2022.

  • 6 March: Information received from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine is that the facility was damaged by shelling on 6 March and 25 June but did not cause any increase in radiation levels at the site. Initial reports were that a substation was destroyed; cables for the air conditioner cooling systems of the linear accelerator cluster gallery were damaged, and that heating of the entire complex was damaged.
  • 25 June: Additional damage to the buildings and infrastructure of the site occurred affecting the ventilation systems of the special ventilation system and the main building of the installation, the cooling system of the accelerator’s klystron gallery, the emergency power supply system diesel generators and the cladding of the installation’s main building.

State Interregional Specialised Plants for Radioactive Waste Management (SISP) of UkrDO Radon – Kyiv Branch

The Kyiv Branch of SISP is used to store disused radioactive sources that had been applied in medical treatments, industrial uses, and scientific research. 

  • 26 February: News organisations reported that this facility was struck by a bomb or missile; however it is now confirmed that the facility has not been damaged and operation of the its automatic monitoring system has been restored. There are no reports of radiological releases.
See also