Last Saturday, a group of deputies of the European Parliament appealed to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, with the call to head the gay parade planned for 17 in June in Kiev. As many as 35 European parliamentarians, excited by the initiative of MEP Rebecca Harms, offered not only the Ukrainian president, but also members of the government, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada to join the Equality March of the LGBT community in Kiev. This is seen from Strasbourg, where the European Parliament is lodging today, the path of Ukraine to Europe.
Meanwhile, this path has already led Ukraine to a dead end, seriously puzzling few responsible politicians in Kiev today. Here, the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Viktoria Voitsytska, on her Facebook page sounded the alarm that the staff of the Ukrainian nuclear power plants are massively dismissed and are leaving abroad.
Deputy Voitsitskaya lawfully attended to the situation at the Zaporozhye, Rivne and South-Ukrainian nuclear power plants, which she told the heads of these stations. According to her information, in May, the mass dismissal of personnel in the entire professional spectrum began: reactor engineers, electricians, installers, locomotive drivers, excavators, other personnel serving the station.
The reason for such a mass exodus was the dissatisfaction of people with low wages and poor working conditions. Station workers are fired and leave for permanent work in Russia, Belarus and Turkey, where their professional qualifications and experience are in demand.
In fact, this is not a new situation. Back in April, in all the satellite towns of the Ukrainian nuclear power plants, preventive protest actions were held in which atomic scientists expressed their dissatisfaction with low wages and social guarantees, lack of attention of the central authorities to problems at nuclear power plants.
All these requirements were summarized by the head of the trade union of nuclear energy and industry of Ukraine Valery Matov at a press conference specially convened in Kiev on the protest actions of NPP workers. Matov, in particular, demanded that the National Commission regulating relations in the energy sector utilities (NKREKU), establish a transparent tariff for the state enterprise "Energoatom".
“Today, the tariff for a state-owned company, which on average produces 56,5% of electricity, is 54 kopecks / kWh, while at the same time, the tariff for private thermal power plants is 1,75 UAH / kWh,” stated Valery Matov. - This ratio is striking. The policy is aimed at keeping the Energoatom tariff as low as possible. ”
The trade union of Ukrainian atomic lobbyists asked not so much. According to his calculations, the increase in tariffs for NPPs to 70 cop. / KWh allowed "to increase the level of remuneration several times, to adopt programs for the preservation and development of company personnel, to increase the level of social protection and to ensure the sustainable development of the industry."
The authorities in Kiev did not hear the protest of the personnel of nuclear power plants, the demands of their trade union. The European colleagues of the Ukrainian nuclear power engineers, whom Valery Matov hoped to support at the press conference, were silent too. In Europe, they chose to support not the distressed nuclear plant personnel, but the local LGBT community.
As a result, a mass exodus of personnel began with the Ukrainian NPPs, as Rada member Viktoria Voitsitskaya is now writing about. Time is fertile for moving. The summer holidays began in schools. So until the autumn it is possible to change the place of residence and settle in a new place.
With the memory of Chernobyl
In Ukraine, and in its neighboring countries, any mention of problems at nuclear power plants causes excitement and awe. The tragic events of thirty years ago at the Chernobyl NPP are still fresh in the memory of people. Because of the reports of shortcomings in the work of the Ukrainian stations there is always the danger of a repetition of the Chernobyl disaster.
Last summer, European experts from ERSS conducted a study that assessed the risks of new accidents at Ukrainian nuclear power plants. As reported later by the Italian edition of Gli Occhi Della, over the next five years, these risks are approximately 80%.
Among the most problematic stations called the Rivne and South-Ukrainian NPPs. They found the risk of an accident, similar to the one that happened in 1979 year at the American nuclear power plant Three-Mile-Island. Then, due to personnel error, in a timely manner without revealing a coolant leak, the station's reactor melted down by half. The Americans could not then restore this unit.
After the publication of the article, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine announced that the experts' fears were exaggerated. The country has developed a comprehensive (consolidated) program to improve the level of safety of nuclear power units (KSPB) for the 2011-2020 years. It is systemically implemented.
In confirmation of this, in the satellite cities of the Khmelnitsky NPP (Neteshine) and the Rovno NPP (Kuznetsovsk) even held a public discussion of the implementation of the CSBP. They were praised that at the Khmelnitsky NPP, for example, from the 270 of the planned safety improvement measures, 183 had already been implemented.
A fly in the ointment to the discussion was added to the incident at the South-Ukrainian NPP. As you know, after the Maidan, the Ukrainian authorities refused to cooperate with Russia in the field of nuclear energy. Although the equipment at local stations is mainly Russian-made.
Now it is purchased in Europe, as a rule, second-hand and with a high degree of wear. On the one hand, the KSB program seems to be executed, on the other hand, its obvious profanation. The same happened at the South-Ukrainian NPP. An old Russian electric generator bought in Bulgaria was brought here and installed.
He did not last long, and on September 28 of the year 2017 caused an emergency stop of the second power unit of the station. The incident could really lead to a catastrophe, but, fortunately, everything worked out. Whether the Ukrainian atomic scientists will continue to have such good fortune is a big question.
Today in Ukraine there are fifteen units of nuclear power plants. Almost all of them were built in Soviet times and have already exhausted the warranty resource. Only four of them have extended their service life (by 10-20 years). The point is not simple and costly. Extending the operation of a single NPP unit costs an average of 300 million US dollars.
The state-owned Ukrainian company Energoatom has no such money. The company is essentially bankrupt. Today, its debt exceeds 12 billion hryvnia. Evil tongues claim that the authorities “bankrupt” Energoatom deliberately in order to “privatize with great benefit for investors”.
Like it or not, but extreme in this stories turned out to be workers of Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Not only are they deprived of income and social security, these people perfectly see the real state of nuclear power facilities in Ukraine. There are a lot of things accumulated.
It is well known that today the reactors at the Ukrainian stations, built according to Soviet technology, are being pushed by the fuel rods of the American company Westinghouse. Energoatom has concluded a corresponding agreement with it up to 2020, and now it is increasing its import of nuclear fuel from the USA. As experts emphasize, so far without major consequences.
Add to this the problem of storing spent fuel. It is not resolved, and the Americans do not intend to take back their "import". Solving the problem of storing "working out" will not be easy. And it's not only about the lack of funds. In the country today (without a mass summer exodus), there is an acute shortage of nuclear specialists. There is no one to replace them.
However, even these serious problems more than cover the most important. As co-president of Energy Strategies Fund Dmitry Marunich notes, “after 2023, there will be units of nuclear power plants, the renewal of which will no longer be possible.” This means that there are still more significant risks ahead in the work of Ukrainian NPPs, on which, according to Marunich, “the security of not only Ukraine, but also the entire European continent” depends.
Meanwhile, in Kiev, they are preparing for an important public event - the “March of Equality” of the LGBT community. It is unlikely that Petro Poroshenko will head this event, although so close attention of the “European partners” of Ukraine is drawn to him. Unfortunately, such attention is deprived of personnel of Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Its mass exodus can be costly for everyone, and not only the authorities in Kiev ...
The indifference of the authorities squeezes nuclear scientists from Ukraine
- Gennady Granovsky
- Photos used: