So, when we left off yesterday, we had this ominous riddle hanging over our heads: Who has effectively blocked the work of Ukraine’s largest energy-generating company (=EnergoAtom), by seizing its assets and freezing its accounts? And who is going to haul away the spent nuclear fuel which is piling up in somebody’s back yard? And does this present a risk for the nation and the region? Inquiring minds need to know the answers to all of these questions…
Experts Sound The Alarm
The piece continues to quote from the expert to whom I introduced you yesterday, Alexei Anpilogov: “The problems are not limited to issues of the spent nuclear fuel.” Due to the financial situation of the company, and the frozen accounts, there is also the issue of Russian companies no longer shipping nuclear fuel to the Ukrainian nuclear energy plants. Officials at Rosatom remark cavalierly that they are not worried about their Ukrainian counterparts – the latter still have enough fuel to survive, for now. According to the contract, EnergoAtom is supposed to order and pre-pay for the fuel 150 days prior to delivery. This provides some wiggle time, so EnergoAtom can keep hobbling along, at least for a couple of months, until they can cough up more cash to pay Rosatom.
The piece next quotes a man named Alexei Lych, who is head of the Atomic Workers Trade Union in Ukraine.
Recently Lych led protests of atomic workers trying desperately to save their jobs by averting bankruptcy of the company they work for. Workers wearing their yellow smocks and white caps picketed the offices of President Poroshenko chanting “Hands off Nuclear Power Plants!”
According to Lych, the only viable solution to the problem is for EnergoAtom to suck it up and pre-pay its bill of $150 million to Rosatom. And this must be done as soon as possible, to give Rosatom time to start cooking up some nuclear fuel for Ukraine. Otherwise, five months from now, Ukraine could be left without any nuclear fuel whatsoever. Doing the math, 150 days is roughly five months, which would bring us to around November, or the start of the winter months.
Until then, Ukrainian nuclear power plants will introduce some conservation measures and try to economize on fuel. This will require holding back on the rolling out of additional nuclear reactors [энергоблок] which are currently under repair. As of a few days ago, 30 May, as many as 9 out of the 15 total reactors were still under repair (на ремонте). Repairs require purchase of parts (комплектующие), for which there is no money.
This fact, in turn, creates a risk, according to a man named Igor Nasalik, who is Minister of Energetics and Coal for the Ukrainian government. In the link from the previous sentence, which is written in pidgin English, it is mentioned that Igor, like many members of the Ukrainian government, is something of an oligarch.
According to Depo.ua, Igor Nasalik he is co-founder of the corporation “Techno-Center”, which indirectly owns the companies “Galplast”, “Galtorf”, “Naftoenergo Invest” and “Ukrmedeksport”. Also, according to media reports in 1990, the company, which connect with Igor Nasalikom, (for example, “Techno-Center”) was engaged in trading of petroleum products.
Be that as it may, Igor, who is also a body-builder in his spare time, is quoted in the VZGLIAD piece as sounding the alarm about the dire situation of EnergoAtom. And still another man, named Sergei Bozhko, formerly the Chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, has stated outright, that if EnergoAtom is not able to guarantee the safety of the nuclear power plants, then the State Inspection Agencies will be forced to shut down all the reactors currently in production.
Currently nuclear energy supplies 50-60% of all the electrical energy for the people of Ukraine. Hence, shutting down the nuclear reactors would have a devastating impact on the energy situation in the country. But an even greater risk, according to these experts, is the possible scenario of a second Chernobyl.
But some people suspect that the “Chernobyl” talk is just hype and alarmism. Purpose being to panic and stampede the herd, while covering up for an even more sinister agenda. And that the real goal of all the behind-the-scenes maneuvering is the full privatization of Ukraine’s state nuclear industry. And its transfer into private — probably foreign — hands.
[to be continued]