Core of the case: Construction of nuclear power blocks № 3 and 4 at Khmelnytska NPP
Region: Ukraine, Khmelnystkyj region, town Netishyn
Essence of the case: protection of the right to safe and healthy environment, right to public participation in environmental decision-making
Parties: EPL, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, NEGC «Energoatom»,the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine,the public, other states
Essence of the problem: Units 3 and 4 are planned at the industrial site of Khmelnystka NPP
Construction of new nuclear blocks at the old construction on the top of existing constructions of NPP poses serious threat for the environment and could be found impossible due to the impossibility to ensure safety measures at nuclear blocks. Also, the river Horynj, which supplies water for cooling reservoir of KhNPP, lacks sufficient amount of water for cooling of two blocks in operation and its capacity for additional cooling of blocks 3 and 4 is questionable. It could impact also the water usage in the region. Operation of 4 nuclear blocks could adversely impact the quality of surface and ground waters, water in wells in surrounding settlements. Excessive use of water from the river Horynj for cooling purposes could destroy the habitat of threatened species Barbus petenyi Heckel– listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. Nevertheless, the impact on the environment at the stage of the feasibility study was not assessed properly by the environmental authority – the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine due to the lack of ecological expertise conclusion of the feasibility study of new blocks as required by the law.
The opinion of local population, local authorities and bodies of local self-government as well as neighbor countries was ignored during the decision-making on construction of blocks 3 and 4.
Main facts: On July 21, 2005, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine took the decision “On preparatory measures for construction of new blocks at Khmelnytska NPP» № 281-2005-р, obliging the Ministry of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine together with state company “Enegroatom” to inspect the facilities, objects and equipment of blocks 3 and 4 of KhNPP and based on its results to submit proposals concerning the possibility of the use of industrial site of KhNPP for construction of new blocks 3 and 4.
In December 2008, the statement of intentions concerning construction of nuclear blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP was published.
On January 12, 2011, the parliament of Ukraine ratified the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the government of Russian Federation on cooperation in construction of blocks № 3 and № 4 of KhNPP, signed on 9/06/2010.
In July 2012, the government of Ukraine adopted the decision № 498 on approval of the feasibility study of construction of blocks № 3 and № 4 of KhNPP.
On September 6, 2012, the parliament of Ukraine passed the Law “On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant” № 5217 –VI.
1. There are two main zones around Khmelnytska NPP: sanitary protection zone 2,7 km in radius and observation area 30 km in radius. Observation area includes the territory of Khmelnytska and Rivnenska regions. This zone encompasses 207 settlements with more than 200 000 inhabitants. Despite of this, the decisions on approval of the construction (under certain circumstances) of new blocks at KhNPP were taken only by few bodies of local self-government. Ostrih town council, Kopytkivska village council and Myrotynska village council took decisions not to approve construction of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP.
2. Public hearings before the adoption of the law were organized not in all the settlements within the observation area of KhNPP (only in 14 among 207). The results of some public hearings reveal the disagreement and disapproval by local population of the plans to construct blocks 3 and 4, some of the results show that local population is eager to support such plans under certain circumstances and requests to take into account their demands in the law draft on construction at KhNPP. The opinion of the population from the rest 193 settlements was not collected and taken into account at all.
3. NSGC «Energoatom» failed to ensure the conduct of the state ecological expertise of the feasibility study of construction of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP. Instead the scientific ecological expert assessment of the feasibility study by Donetsk scientific center was conducted and the expert report concerning consideration of project documentation of construction of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP by state company «Ukrderzhbudexpertisa» was received.
4. Construction at the existing facilities of KhNPP had not been studied from the safety perspective. The conclusion of the Board of the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation states that the feasibility study failed to prove such possibility and thus issue of the possibility to use the existing construction site at KhNPP is still open. Regardless of this, the law on construction of new blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP prepared by nuclear lobby failed to take due account of this fact. In accordance with the conclusion of state expertise on nuclear and radiation safety of the feasibility study of construction of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP, the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation made a conclusion that the decision to construct new blocks should take into account the probability that the use of existing construction facilities will be unacceptable. Back in 2009 the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation pointed out the lack of the analysis of the possibility to use the existing construction facilities of block N3 for the reactor type ВВЕР-1000/В-392 as technical characteristics of the reactor type ВВЕР-1000/В-392, chosen for the new blocks construction at KhNPP, differ greatly from the characteristics of the reactor type ВВЕР-1000/В-320 selected for the construction of the block 3 at KhNPP in 1985 (existing construction facilities). As a result of such violations the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation allowed “Energoatom” to provide the analysis of the possibility of the use of existing constructions for construction of new blocks type ВВЕР-1000/В-392 at the stage of the development of feasibility study.
Head of the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation in her interview in March 2013 noted that: «Old construction facilities at KhNPP were erected for obsolete reactor design type В-320/ВВЭР-1000 in 70s. (so-called second generation). For the reactor type В-392/ВВЭР-1000 (chosen and fixed in Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant ”) it is necessary to replace the layout design of auxiliary safety system and to integrate the additional active and passive systems that will result in additional pressure. Do you think the old construction facilities not completed even according to the old requirements will endure it?»
5. Consultations with the affected countries that were supposed to be conductedbefore the adoption of the Law “On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant, had the form of notification about the possible transboundary impact of the construction of new blocks at KhNPP dated November 2010. The Espoo Convention foresees the obligation of the state of origin to organize notification of the affected states about the planned activity to ensure effective consultations (art. 3), provision of the EIA documentation to the affected states (art. 4) and consultations with due considerations of their results in the final decision (art.5-6 of the Espoo Convention). Ukraine failed to complete such procedures before the final decision was taken by the Parliament of Ukraine. Several affected countries notified Ukraine about their desire to receive additional information and to participate in the transboundary consultations and procedures under the Espo Convention before the final decision.
6. Khmelnytska NPP belongs to the main water user and is located in the region with weakest water availability. KhNPP is located in the riverhead of the Horynj river, the annual runoff of which will not allow cooling of 4 reactors at KhNPP without distortion of the river ecosystem. In addition, the practice shows that today the river Horynj is not able to supply water for cooling of blocks 1 and 2 now in operation, particularly in dry years.
7. After cooling the temperature of the cooling reservoir of nuclear power plant changes. Studies showed that after cooling of 4 reactors the temperature in cooling reservoir will exceed the ambient temperature by 13,84°C. Such change will result in dissolved oxygen deficiency not only in cooling reservoir but also in natural water objects and this could lead to the fish plague. It is unlikely that the operation of all 4 blocks will have positive effect on the population of fish listed in the Red Book of Ukraine – Barbus petenyi Heckel with habitat in the Horynj river.
EPL initiated a few court cases:
EPL v. parliament of Ukraine
On March 27, 2013, EPL submitted a suit to the High Administrative Court of Ukraine challenging the illegal actions of
the Parliament of Ukraine during the adoption of the Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant” № 5217 –VI, September 6, 2012. The court rejected EPL’s suit and suggested applying to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
EPL v. The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine
In May 2013, EPL challenged the illegal actions of the Ministry of Energy violating national
and international norms during preparation of the draft Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant ”.
The plaintiff asks the court:
- To declare the actions of the Ministry of Energy (defendant) illegal;
- To oblige the defendant to prepare draft law amending the existing Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant” for correction of the violations of the procedure for adoption of such law;
- To oblige the defendant to organize carrying out the state ecological expertise of the feasi-bility study of the construction of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP and to take due account of its conclusions in the draft law on amendments to the Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant”.
- To oblige the defendant to organize all the stages of consultations with the affected countries and take due account of the results of such consultations in the draft law on amendments to the Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant”;
- To oblige the defendant to submit the law draft to the parliament for the con sideration and adoption;
- To oblige the defendant to suspend the development of construction project of blocks 3 and 4 at KhNPP until the adoption of the Law on amendments to the Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant”.
On 13 August 2013 District Administrative Court of Kyiv decided the motion of NAEC “Energoatom” (third party to the dispute) and issued the ruling leaving EPL suit without consideration due to the laches. EPL appealed such ruling. On 22 October, 2013, Kiev Appeal Administrative Court issued the ruling to leave the abovementioned ruling of lower court in force. EPL have not appealed further.
On September, 16, 2015 Parliament of Ukraine took a decision to terminate the Law “ On location, engineering and construction of nuclear power blocks 3 and 4 of Khmelnytska nuclear power plant” from 06.09.2012. Prior to this Parliament denounced the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and government of Russian Federation on cooperation in construction of blocks № 3 and № 4 of KhNPP.