Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Chernobyl and the Use of Nuclear Power in countries outside of the U.S.

Mary Ann DeLeo produced and directed the documentary, "Chernobyl

Heart" in 2003, shown on Home Box Office at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

There are still problems with radiation over there. They still

have children who live in the affected villages over there. People

still eat the food that grows over there and most of them have some

form of cancer, like thyroid cancer. Food in containers is radioactive and

they still eat it. There was a 250 percent increase in birth

defects. Most of those children go to mental asylums or abandoned

baby homes because that is what is provided to them. Some of the children's

medical conditions are inoperable.

I got these facts from the film but these are the types of things that happen in a stupid human trick.
Carelessness with nuclear energy is unnecessary. In the U.S. there

are regulations to follow. Elsewhere, in countries where the health

of it's citizens isn't the highest priority, I worry when they get

nuclear capabilities.

Nuclear energy, if carelessly handled or misused, has the potential

to impact the world.

There is already too much suffering in the world, why add to it?

The United States is the greatest country in the world. Everyone

should be following our example rather than viciously fighting us

and plotting to undermine our power.

According to a Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper issued March 22, 2006

by the World Nuclear Association in London, The Chernobyl Nuclear

reactor explosion in April of 1986, was the result of a flawed

reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained

personnel and without proper regard for safety.

The resulting steam explosion and fire released at least five

percent of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and


Twenty-eight people died within four months from radiation or

thermal burns, 19 have subsequently died, and there have been

around nine deaths from thyroid cancer apparently due to the

accident: total 56 fatalities as of 2004.

Nobody off-site suffered from acute radiation effects. However,

large areas of Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and beyond were

contaminated in varying degrees. Ninety-nine percent of Belarus is

affected by the radiation.

An authoritative UN report in 2000 concluded that there is no

scientific evidence of any significant radiation-related health

effects to most people exposed. This was confirmed in a very

thorough 2005 study.

Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy - it has 15 reactors

generating half of its electricity.

Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from


In 2004 Ukraine commissioned two large new reactors. The government

plans to build up to eleven new reactors by 2030.

How does a failed nation get the funding to regenerate nuclear


In May 2005, international donors made new pledges worth

approximately US$ 200 million towards the new confinement shelter.

The largest contribution, worth more than US$ 185 million, came

from the G8 and the EU. Russia contributed to the fund for the

first time and other fund members, which include the US, increased

their contributions, with the Ukrainian government pledging the

equivalent of US$ 22 million.

In a separate statement, the European Commission said it had

contributed another EUR 49 million to the fund. The EC has

committed EUR 239.5 million since 1997, making it the main donor.

The new pledges follow the more than EUR 600 million in cash

contributions already pledged to the fund by a total of 28 donor


A large share of primary energy supply in Ukraine comes from the

country's uranium and substantial coal resources. The remainder is

oil and gas, mostly imported from Russia. . In 1991, due to

breakdown of the Soviet Union, the country's economy collapsed and

its electricity consumption declined dramatically from 296 billion

kWh in 1990 to 170 in 2000, all the decrease being from coal and

gas plants. Total electricity production in 2004 amounted to 181

TWh, and total capacity in 2004 was 52.7 GWe.

Ukraine's best-known nuclear power plant was Chernobyl (Chornobyl

in Ukrainian). This had the only RBMK type reactors in the country.

Unit 4 was destroyed in the 1986 accident, unit 2 was shut down

after a turbine hall fire in 1991, unit 1 was closed in 1997 and

unit 3 closed at the end of 2000 due to international pressure.

Ukraine has modest recoverable resources of uranium, and produces

up to 800 tonnes of uranium per year - around 30% of the country's

requirements. The uranium ore mining and uranium concentrate

production in Ukraine is performed by the Vostochny Uranium Ore

Mining and Processing Enterprise (VostGOK). Ukraine also has

Zirconium resources. Ukrainian uranium concentrate and zirconium

alloy are sent to Russia for fuel fabrication. The nuclear fuel

produced from these Ukrainian components then return to Ukrainian

NPPs. All fuel is imported from TVEL in Russia. The country depends

primarily on Russia to provide other nuclear fuel cycle services


In order to diversify nuclear fuel supplies, Energoatom started

implementation of the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Project

(UNFQP). The Project assumes the use of US-manufactured fuel in the

VVER-1000 following the selection of Westinghouse as a vendor on a

tender basis. South Ukraine NPP's third unit will be the country's

first to use the six lead test assemblies supplied by Westinghouse,

which will be placed into the reactor core together with Russian

fuel for a period of pilot operation.

Spent fuel is mostly stored on site though some VVER-440 fuel is

again being sent to Russia for reprocessing, at US$ 418/kg (the

arrangement was suspended 1992-6). At Zaporozhe a long-term dry

storage facility for spent fuel has operated since 2001, but other

VVER-1000 spent fuel is sent to Russia for storage. A further US$

400 million storage facility is envisaged.

Also, a centralized dry storage facility for spent fuel has been

proposed for construction in the new energy strategy which is

currently under consideration by the government.

RBMK spent fuel from decommissioned reactors at Chernobyl is

stored, and a new dry storage facility is under construction there.

From 2011, high-level wastes from reprocessing Ukrainian fuel will

be returned from Russia to Ukraine.

Preliminary investigations have shortlisted sites for a deep

geological repository for high- and intermediate-level wastes

including all those arising from Chernobyl decommissioning and


The cost of building the arch-shaped confinement shelter is

estimated at more than US$ 1 billion.

The start of the first evaluation phase - the technical phase - of

bids to build the shelter was announced in November 2004, and the

financial evaluation phase is to follow. The awarding of the

construction contract is scheduled for autumn 2005 and project

completion for 2008-2009.

Units 1-3 are undergoing decommissioning conventionally - the first

RBMK units to do so, and work will accelerate when the new dry

storage facility is built.

Chernobyl Children's Project International is a fully registered not for profit organization.
217 East 86th Street, P MB #275, New York, NY 10028
Contact CCPI via e-mail: info@chernobyl-international.org
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