Russian nuclear reactors ‘unprepared’ for natural disasters / News / The Foreigner

Russian nuclear reactors ‘unprepared’ for natural disasters. Russian nuclear reactors near Finnmark are vulnerable to natural disasters like the Fukushima earthquake. According to Aftenposten, Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom reported to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev last week that it has no contingency plans to deal with an earthquake or a tornado. “I am appalled,” said Nils Bøhmer, nuclear physicist at the Bellona Foundation. “It is the most serious description of the status of Russian nuclear power plants I've ever seen from Rosatom.”

kolanuclearpowerplant, chernobyl, stpetersburgnuclearpowerstation



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Russian nuclear reactors ‘unprepared’ for natural disasters

Published on Tuesday, 21st June, 2011 at 11:48 under the news category, by Garreth Corfield.
Last Updated on 21st June 2011 at 12:03.

Russian nuclear reactors near Finnmark are vulnerable to natural disasters like the Fukushima earthquake.

Repair unit 1 Kola (illustration photo)
Repair unit 1 Kola (illustration photo)
Photo: КольскаяАЭС/Wikimedia Commons


According to Aftenposten, Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom reported to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev last week that it has no contingency plans to deal with an earthquake or a tornado.

“I am appalled,” said Nils Bøhmer, nuclear physicist at the Bellona Foundation. “It is the most serious description of the status of Russian nuclear power plants I've ever seen from Rosatom.”

Several other flaws also exist in Russia’s nuclear energy program, including deficient safety systems and unclear rules for storage of nuclear material.

Most worryingly for Norwegians, the two oldest reactors at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant, located 250 miles south east of Finnmark, have weaknesses in their cooling systems.

“The report shows that the Russian nuclear power plants are far less equipped to deal with a natural disaster than was the case in Japan,” said Igor Kudrik, Bellona’s expert on nuclear safety in Russia. He described Kola as “one of the oldest and most dangerous reactors in Russia.”

North-westerly winds across Norway would carry any nuclear fallout from a catastrophe at Kola straight towards Finnmark.

A second nuclear power station near St Petersburg, which operates RBMK-type reactors identical to those which went into meltdown at Chernobyl in 1987, has was mentioned as having similar problems including poor quality welding in cooling pipes. Mr Bøhmer has already expressed fears about the consequences.

“The distance between Norway and Russia’s St. Petersburg nuclear power plant is approximately a third of the distance to Chernobyl. A serious incident there will clearly affect Norway” he said.

The two most vulnerable reactors at Kolskaya were commissioned in the early 1970s. They were designed to run for 30 years but had their lives officially extended in 2008 for another 15 years.

Rosatom’s report detailed a total of 31 safety related problems including a lack of automatic shutdown systems, which reduced the impact of the near miss at Fukushima in March this year.  

“These reports confirm what Norwegian authorities have been claiming for a long time. Russian nuclear plant security is far from satisfactory, “ says Erik Lahnstein, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.




Published on Tuesday, 21st June, 2011 at 11:48 under the news category, by Garreth Corfield.
Last updated on 21st June 2011 at 12:03.

This post has the following tags: kolanuclearpowerplant, chernobyl, stpetersburgnuclearpowerstation.





  
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