On its sitting on 18 October 2011, the Committee of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on the budget issues reviewed the draft Law of Ukraine “On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On State Budget of Ukraine for 2011”” (concerning funding for reviewing the norms and rules of nuclear safety in order to take into consideration the lessons learned from the accident on Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant) submitted by the people’s deputy of Ukraine Aleksandrovska A. O. On 20.10.2011 this draft law was adopted by the Supreme Rada of Ukraine and signed by the President of Ukraine.
The law envisages the increase by 600 thousand of UAH of expenses for development of the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation within the budget program “Applied research in the sphere of nuclear regulation”. This will be done through amendment of Annex 3 to the Law of Ukraine “On State Budget of Ukraine for 2011”.
The explanatory note stipulates the necessity of adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On State Budget of Ukraine for 2011”” (concerning funding for reviewing the norms and rules of nuclear safety in order to take into consideration the lessons learned from the accident on Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant).
This stipulation refers to the accident on “Fukushima-1” nuclear power plant that posed new challenges for nuclear community: detailed analysis of reasons of the accident and analysis of the lessons learned, development and realization of measures towards prevention of serious accidents or in case of accidents – elimination of their negative impact on population and environment.
On 24 March, the European Union Council made a statement on urgent need to make reassessment of the safety level of European nuclear power stations on the basis of comprehensive and open assessment of the risk (“stress tests”). West European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA) organized development of technical conditions for holding “stress tests” and Ukrainian experts also participated in this process. WENRA defines “stress tests” as a targeted reassessment of the safety margins of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in the light of the events which occurred in Fukushima. Extreme natural events and their combinations that influence the realization of safety functions and can lead to serious accident are to be thoroughly analyzed.
On the Fifth review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (4-14 April 2011), member-states of the Convention in their joint statement on the disaster on Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant highlighted the necessity of reassessment of nuclear plants safety and realization of immediate additional measures. The State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine was allocated 812 thousand of UAH for the project “Applied research in the sphere of nuclear regulation”. However, this amount was found to be insufficient for ensuring timely and qualified realization of orders of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the President and government. In view of the above mentioned, it was suggested to increase the amount for “applied research in the sphere of nuclear regulation” by 600 thousand UAH.
The explanatory note also defines urgent tasks that include realization of the below mentioned research activities for which funding is not secured, namely:
- complex analysis of norms, rules and standards for nuclear safety with the account taken of lessons learnt from “Fukushima-1” nuclear power plant. The period of realization – the year of 2012 , estimated costs 75 thousand UAH;
- development of requirements to the system of emergency cooling and warmth diversion from the nuclear reactor to the final absorber. The period of realization is 2011-2012, estimated costs – 240 thousand of UAH including 120 thousand for the year of 2011;
- review of requirements to localizing safety systems. The period of realization is 2011-2012, estimated costs – 320 thousand of UAH including 160 thousand of UAH for 2011;
- development of requirements to seismic resilient projecting and evaluation of seismic security of nuclear blocks of nuclear power plant. The period of realization – 2011-2012, estimated costs – 250 thousand of UAH including 125 thousand for 2011;
- development of requirements to handling fresh and spent fuel for nuclear power plants. The period of realization – 2011-2012, estimated costs – 240 thousand of UAH including 120 UAH for 2011.
At present the draft Law of Ukraine “On Handling Spent Nuclear Fuel” of 15.07.2011 is in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine and it awaiting approval in the second reading. However, no measures of developing requirements to handling fresh nuclear fuel on nuclear power plants are envisaged.
The only thing on which these costs were spent is announcement of tenders in the Internet. The subject of these tenders is holding research and developments in the sphere of energy, in particular review and development of the above mentioned requirements. Any organization performing research in the sphere of energy can participate in the tender. No other measures aimed at creation of these requirements have been performed.
To sum up, the total amount allocated in 2011 for “Applied research in the sphere of nuclear safety” is 600 thousand UAH. It remains unclear what this money was spent on. Obviously, despite allocated additional costs to fund review of norms and rules of nuclear safety, no real measures of their review have been realized. In general we consider allocation of such big amounts improper, since there are a number of urgent problems that really pose a threat for nuclear safety of Ukraine and its citizens. These problems include prolongation of exploitation of nuclear blocks, which is considered to be the most serious problem because starting from 2010 every year in Ukraine one or more nuclear blocks will terminate the period of their exploitation. The process of termination of exploitation of existing energy blocks requires financial resources that our government lacks. Thus, the government decides to prolong the period of exploitation of energy blocks without compliance with procedures. The Energy strategy for the period up to 2030 envisages that by 2016 energy blocks #3, 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant will be launched into exploitation. The State economic program “Nuclear fuel” envisages in 2014 the construction and launching into exploitation of a nuclear fuel producing plant. Another problem is handling radioactive waste because there is no clear mechanism of funding the construction of sites for highly radioactive waste. Therefore, in such a situation the increase of funding for review of norms and rules of nuclear safety seems absolutely inadequate and ineffective.