#Commentary of Elena Melnik on Ukraine’s chances of becoming nuclear dump
A small note which stated that a group of scientists from the American University of South Carolina and the Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University are conducting research on the effect of radiation on living organisms appeared on the official Ukrainian government portal. Studies are carried out at the polygons near the city of Pripyat in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Before commenting on this fact, it is worth recalling that the nuclear legacy inherited by Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR has both an economic and a political component. First, Ukraine needs to purchase nuclear fuel for power plants and organize the waste storage. Secondly, after the coup in 2014, the new Ukrainian authorities announced a course on “energy independence from Russia”, which included the rejection of Russian nuclear fuel in favour of the American Westinghouse. The fact that the fuel is more expensive than the Russian one by 20% and is not suitable for Russian or Soviet-type reactors did not bother anyone, except Ukrainian experts. According to experts, the proposed option is extremely unsafe, besides, other European countries have abandoned the nuclear fuel from Westinghouse company.
In connection with the breach in relations with the Russian “Rosatom”, in Ukraine, there arose the issue of nuclear waste storage. Having ratified the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management, Ukraine has undertaken to store the processing products of its nuclear fuel on its own territory. In addition, starting from 2018, spent fuel sent earlier to the Russian Federation must also be taken back and stored. In Ukraine, there are already several cemeteries, in addition, the construction of a central repository for spent nuclear waste in the Chernobyl exclusion zone was announced. The tender for construction was won by the American company Holtec International, and the American partners will also provide loans for this purpose.
As a result, Ukraine is building a nuclear burial ground in the center of its country on credit at interest, while choosing not the most decent contractor (Yulia Tymoshenko subjected Holtec International to criticism, saying that it was revoked in 2011). In addition, a number of Ukrainian experts argue that the storage will be designed not only for Ukrainian nuclear waste.
This is truly a brilliant idea of Western “friendly” minded combinators. Ukraine is turning into an ideal testing ground for nuclear waste storage and scientific investigation at its own expense, and overseas friends of Ukraine will get a good income on this, having solved a number of problems in the sphere of environmental safety of their countries.
Elena Melnik, the DPR People’s Council deputy