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Ukraine to build 4 nuclear reactors as war hits power supply

KYIV, Ukraine, January 30 ------ Ukraine's energy ministry said that it will begin building four new nuclear reactors this year to compensate for Russia's seizure of the country's largest nuclear plant.


Energy Minister German Galushchenko said in televised comments that all four new reactors would be at the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine, eventually making it the largest in Europe. Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, currently Europe's largest, has been under Russian control since March 2022 and its six reactors have been shut down. Fierce fighting in the area and power cuts have raised international concerns since the plant still needs electricity and water to cool its systems. The Khmelnytskyi plant will receive two reactors built to a US design, the minister said.


The plant, which dates back to the 1980s, currently has two reactors. Two others have long been planned but their construction delayed. "With the power that six reactors at Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant will be able to produce, it will be the largest in Europe and even more powerful than Zaporizhzhia," Galushchenko said. He said that the construction would take many years, with the third reactor expected to be ready in around two and a half years, followed by the others.


The Khmelnytskyi plant's construction began in 1981 and it went into operation the year after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The original plan was to build four reactors but construction of reactors three and four was halted due to a moratorium on new nuclear projects. Later, Ukraine sealed a deal with Russia to build the reactors which was cancelled in 2015. The plan is for the station to have two new AP1000 reactors designed by US company Westinghouse. The earlier-planned reactors three and four will be of Soviet VVER-1000 design. Since Russia's invasion, Khmelnytskyi power plant has suffered power outages and smashed windows from nearby explosions, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA reported this month that the Zaporizhzhia plant is surrounded by land mines in a breach of its safety standards.




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