Know where Ukraine hide the nuclear fuel of the Chernobyl NPP

Ukraine continues to struggle with the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. This year was built the new safe confinement over the destroyed fourth power unit of the station (the arch). Have also started testing unique purpose of the facility, a new storage for spent nuclear fuel, which was formed as a result of the first three units of the station. UNIAN has learnt how it is arranged new storage, and how security will be maintained in the fuel storage

The problem of safe storage of nuclear fuel, our country and the international community began to engage, starting with a fateful 1986. Then it was put into operation, the existing storage of spent nuclear fuel. In this fuel is in the aquatic environment, namely in pools that are already filled on 99%.

According to the State Agency for exclusion zone management, the lifetime of the repository until 2025, moreover it was not originally designed for long-term storage of highly radioactive fuel.

To solve long-term safe storage of spent nuclear fuel of the ChNPP earlier it was decided to build a new storage dry-type (storage-2), in which it is stored securely for 100 years. Contractor to implement such a responsible task was chosen as one of the world leaders in the development and application of technologies in the field of nuclear energy – an American company Holtec International.

A new vault was built by means of a specially crafted nuclear safety Account administered made one of the largest creditors of Ukraine – the European Bank for reconstruction and development. Donors for filling this account were members of the Big seven and a number of European countries. It was on the money, and with the contribution of the Ukrainian side (1.4 million euros) was constructed the storage-2, which cost 380 million euros.

The main aspect of the storage of such materials as nuclear fuel, of course, is security. As assure of the state Agency, in the new vault, this figure is much higher than in the current. The new feature provides multi-level protection against possible movement of the radioactive isotopes, and the distribution of ionizing radiation.

It is planned that the new storage will be completely filled with spent nuclear fuel in the period of 9-10 years.


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The correspondent of the newspaper met the exactly how to construct new storage, and how security will be maintained in the fuel storage. To this end, he visited the facilities of the new store, and even looked into the future “hot” camera, the level of radiation in which during handling of fuel is thousands of times higher than the maximum human dose.

When arriving to the current repository, wagon-container which contains spent nuclear fuel, will be monitored. Then the car with the fuel hits the building – the Installation for the preparation of spent fuel for storage in the middle of which it will be packaged in a special protective case. In this room, a container that arrived in the carriage, turn horizontal to a vertical position with the subsequent displacement of the fuel located on top of a “hot” camera.

The entrance to the “hot” chamber is closed by two massive doors, and its walls consist of concrete with a thickness of one meter, which is necessary for reliable protection from radiation emitted by fuel assemblies. “Hot” literally crammed with equipment that will raise the spent fuel assemblies and to cut them into two parts, and it also hosts equipment for handling damaged fuel.

With this drive long fuel Assembly (over 10 m) is cut into two parts – bundles of fuel elements. This simulator, which is not different in form from the real fuel assemblies but does not include nuclear fuel, the storage specialists-2 is used for “cold” tests in which it worked through the entire cycle of movement of such dangerous goods. After successful completion of the “cold” test, followed by “hot”, for which the storage will be delivered the first shipment of this fuel.

Because during the work with this spent nuclear fuel radiation levels in the hot cell will be thousands of times higher than the maximum human dose, the presence of people is unacceptable. Therefore, all work will be carried out with the help of special manipulators, which will manage the camera operators while abroad.

The operator will control the manipulator, while observing the process in a special window, thickness of glass which is one meter. Further, nuclear fuel will be Packed in a special protective case which is in this cart, on rails, will be delivered on the second part of the storage – concrete storage units.

Gallery of concrete storage modules, which you plan to place the canisters with spent nuclear fuel for the next 100 years and all this time, carefully monitor his condition.

We will remind, earlier the Minister of ecology said the main risk of nuclear waste storage near Chernobyl.