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Crimea Blackout: Ukraine Was Just Inches Away From a New Chernobyl

Cuttting power to 'occupied' Crimea might not be such a good idea when you simultaneously cut power to your own nuclear power stations

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is a popular Russian blogger. This article originally appeared at his LJ blog . Translated by Svetlana Kyrzhaly and Rhod Mackenzie

Few people attached any significance to the fact that when Crimea’s power lines were cut, this could have provoked a Chernobyl type accident at the South-Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Nikolaev. We were lucky that the workers of the station were able to turn on the emergency electricity supply system for a few hours.

The lack of gas and coal in the Ukraine could lead to accidents at other power plants, leaving metropolitan areas without heat and light. This is obvious even to amateurs, but unfortunately, the amateurs in Kiev could cause a catastrophe not only for Ukrainians, but also for the residents of neighboring countries, including Russians, and involving nuclear power plants.

There are four of these in the Ukraine, totaling 16 units, or 16 potential atomic bombs. Experts say it’s a miracle that another Chernobyl type catastrophe hasn’t already happened.

Vasily Volga, a Ukrainian politician who is also a nuclear energy specialist said:

"When these so called "activists" brought down power lines, the South-Ukrainian nuclear power plant was unable to produce a normal amount of electricity. I will be receiving details on what exactly happened, but from what  shift supervisors said, only the professionalism and dedication of the staff prevented a catastrophe“.

As Vasily Volga explains, nuclear power plants require regular preventive maintenance to prevent accidents on a Chernobyl scale.

"We can’t tell the core of the reactor and its ancillary systems "We don’t have money, so continue working and we’ll do preventive maintenance later". When operating instructions say the gasket in the main centrifugal pump has to be changed every year, it should be changed every year".

The systems used in the Ukrainian nuclear reactors are produced in the Ukraine or in Russia. Currently, due to poor relations, scheduled preventive maintenance at nuclear power plants is not being done. Kiev knows this, but doesn’t talk about it because to fix it would require a call to Moscow. Or maybe they just don’t understand how dangerous it is to run the nuclear power industry with whatever funds they can scrape together.

Our opponents wonder why we are so keenly interested in Ukrainian affairs, instead of discussing our own problems.  The answer is simple: it’s because we’re close. Because your refugees are in our country; because the Maidan disrupted our trade and economic relations, which made both our countries stronger. Not to mention the friendship and kinship going back centuries.


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