The fire that broke out at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant following an attack by Russian militia was extinguished by firefighters, Zaporizhzhia authorities reported. The city is home to the largest nuclear site in Europe, now in Russian hands.
Now that the flames have been extinguished, it is clear that the plant’s six reactors remain intact. Auxiliary buildings in the compartment of reactor unit 1 were damaged, according to the Ukrainian Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate. Plant operators and staff have warned that further attacks could end in disaster.
Ukrainian President Volodomy Zelenskyy condemned his neighbor for firing from all sides, causing the fire, then seizing the factory. “No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power plants,” he insists in a video broadcast. “If there’s an explosion, it’s the end of everything. The end of Europe.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg denounced the “recklessness” of the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry insisted Ukrainian saboteurs were to blame, calling the offensive move a “monstrous provocation”.
What happens at the end of life?
Let’s take a step back and look at this topic from a waste management perspective. About 400,000 tons of spent fuel are expected to be produced worldwide during the period 2010-2030, according to data from the World Nuclear Association. It is estimated that 70,000 tonnes of this production will come from Europe, of which approximately 60,000 tonnes will be generated in North America.
To date, more than 110 commercial power reactors, 250 research reactors, 48 prototype reactors and a large number of fuel cycle facilities have been taken out of service. Most used fuel is about 96% uranium, less than 1% U-235 and up to 1% plutonium.
Looking ahead, the Asia-Pacific region is poised to experience the strongest market growth, write analysts at Transparency Market Research. In his forecast covering the period 2019-2027, the company expects the North American nuclear waste recycling market to grow “at a slow pace” while Europe, particularly the UK, will remain a significant player in this niche market .
Recently, Recycling International reported that scientists at the Urals Federal University in Russia have discovered a new way to extract uranium from radioactive sludge. Those working on the R&D project were able to maximize the uranium mining to 99.98%.
Another development is that Veolia and Cyclife UK have created a joint venture in France, called Waste2Glass, to meet the challenge of radioactive waste. the new facility will be built in Limay on the outskirts of Paris, near a new pilot unit recently commissioned by Veolia. This allows the 50/50 joint venture to carry out demonstrations and obtain the certifications necessary for the industrial deployment of the innovative recycling process.
The nuclear energy specialist Urenco launched last August the construction of a nuclear recycling plant in a subsidiary in the North West of England. Urenco metal recycling plantscheduled to start in 2024, will deal with size reduction, surface decontamination and metal melting for a range of metal types.
Last but not least, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle has developed an innovative and “cost-effective” technology to recover elements from spent nuclear reactors. fuel from power plants which are usually buried in large underground storage units.
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