Ukraine in full-blown collapse; nuclear reactors at extreme risk

And so the nightmare scenario for the Ukraine is a simple one. Temperature drops below freezing and stays there for a couple of weeks. Coal and natural gas supplies run down; thermal power plants shut down; the electric grid fails; circulator pumps at the 19 nuclear reactors (which, by the way, probably haven’t been overhauled as recently as they should have been) stop pumping; meltdown!
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 The U.S. leaves a ticking time bomb on the doorstep of Russia, and of course, Belarus, Poland, and all the surrounding countries. Is the milk from dairy farms in North Wales safe yet to drink post-Chernobyl? 
This is a dangerous game and a trap rigged for Russia. If Russia intervenes, the U.S. and the West will cry “Russian aggression” and attack. Yet Germany, one of the U.S.’s closest allies, has so much to lose, such a wealthy country that is unplugging from nuclear, yet has Ukraine just a hair breadth away.
Wake up, Poland! The anti-Russia slander shows only how bereft of sanity some Poles are. Your future hangs in the balance, and your well-paid officials will flee to their faraway lairs if nuclear disaster erupts. 
But where can one flee on this small Earth from nuclear fallout? And if all 19 reactors go….? What then?
Your “allies”, the U.S. and Canada, are broad oceans away. This is part of the “away game.” They leave others and even their own soldiers (who they repeatedly abandon) to be at Ground Zero, while they plot from a distance. Who is their next domino?
———————-
Global Research, December 27, 2016
ClubOrlov 22 December 2016

With all the action in Syria, the Ukraine is no longer a subject for discussion in the West. In Russia, where the Ukraine is still a major problem looming on the horizon, and where some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees are settling in, with no intentions of going back to what’s left of the Ukraine, it is still actively discussed. But for the US, and for the EU, it is now yet another major foreign policy embarrassment, and the less said about it the better.

In the meantime, the Ukraine is in full-blown collapse—all five glorious stages of it—setting the stage for a Ukrainian Nightmare Before Christmas, or shortly after.

Phase 1. Financially, the Ukrainian government is in sovereign default as of a couple of days ago. The IMF was forced to break its own rules in order to keep it on life support even though it is clearly a deadbeat. In the process, the IMF stiffed Russia, which happens to be one of its major shareholders; what gives?

Phase 2. Industry and commerce are approaching a standstill and the country is rapidly deindustrializing. Formerly, most of the trade was with Russia; this is now over. The Ukraine does not make anything that the EU might want, except maybe prostitutes. Recently, the Ukraine has been selling off its dirt. This is illegal, but, given what’s been happening there, the term “illegal” has become the stuff of comedy.

Phase 3. Politically, the Ukrainian government is a total farce. Much of it has been turned over to fly-by-night foreigners, such as the former Georgian president Saakashvili, who is a wanted criminal in his own country, which has recently stripped him of his citizenship. The parliament is stocked with criminals who bought their seat to gain immunity from prosecution, and who spend their time brawling with each other. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was recently hauled off the podium by his crotch; how dignified is that? He seemed unfazed. Where are his testicles? Perhaps Victoria Nuland over at the US State Dept. is keeping them in a jar. This sort of action may be fun to watch on Youtube, but the reality is quite sad: those who “run” the Ukraine (if the term still applies) are only interested in one thing: stealing whatever is left.

Phase 4. Ukrainian society (if the term still applies) has been split into a number of warring factions. This was, to some extent, inevitable. What happens if you take bits of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia, and stick them together willy-nilly? Well, results may vary; but if you also spend $5 billion US (as the Americans did) turning the Ukrainians against Russia (and, since they are mostly Russian, against themselves), then you get a complete disaster.

Phase 5. Cultural collapse is quite advanced. The Ukraine once had the same world-class educational system as Russia, but since independence they switched to teaching in Ukrainian (a made-up language) using nonexistent textbooks. The kids have been taught a bogus history hallucinated by rabid Ukrainian nationalists. They’ve been told that Russia is backward and keeping them back, and that they deserve to be happy in the EU. (Just like the Greeks? Yeah…) But now the population has been reduced to levels of poverty not commonly seen outside of Africa, and young people are fleeing, or turning to gangsterism and prostitution, to merely survive. This doesn’t make for a happy cultural narrative. What does it mean to be “a Ukrainian” now? Expletives deleted. Sorry I asked.

Now, here’s what it all really means. With so much going wrong, the Ukraine has been unable to secure enough natural gas or coal supplies to provide a supply cushion in case of a cold snap this winter. A few weeks of frosty weather will deplete the supply, and then pipes will freeze, rendering much of the urban areas unlivable from then on (because, recall, there is no longer any money, or any industry to speak of, to repair the damage). That seems bad enough, but we aren’t quite there yet.

You see, the Ukraine produces over half of its electricity using nuclear power plants. 19 nuclear reactors are in operation, with 2 more supposedly under construction. And this is in a country whose economy is in free-fall and is set to approach that of Mali or Burundi! The nuclear fuel for these reactors was being supplied by Russia. An effort to replace the Russian supplier with Westinghouse failed because of quality issues leading to an accident. What is a bankrupt Ukraine, which just stiffed Russia on billions of sovereign debt, going to do when the time comes to refuel those 19 reactors? Good question!

But an even better question is, Will they even make it that far? You see, it has become known that these nuclear installations have been skimping on preventive maintenance, due to lack of funds. Now, you are probably already aware of this, but let me spell it out just in case: a nuclear reactor is not one of those things that you run until it breaks, and then call a mechanic once it does. It’s not a “if it ain’t broke, I can’t fix it” sort of scenario. It’s more of a “you missed a tune-up so I ain’t going near it” scenario. And the way to keep it from breaking is to replace all the bits that are listed on the replacement schedule no later than the dates indicated on that schedule. It’s either that or the thing goes “Ka-boom!” and everyone’s hair falls out.

How close is Ukraine to a major nuclear accident? Well, it turns out, very close: just recently one was narrowly avoided when some Ukro-Nazis blew up electric transmission lines supplying Crimea, triggering a blackout that lasted many days. The Russians scrambled and ran a transmission line from the Russian mainland, so now Crimea is lit up again. But while that was happening, the Southern Ukrainian, with its 4 energy blocks, lost its connection to the grid, and it was only the very swift, expert actions taken by the staff there that averted a nuclear accident.

I hope that you know this already, but, just in case, let me spell it out again. One of the worst things that can happen to a nuclear reactor is loss of electricity supply. Yes, nuclear power stations make electricity—some of the time—but they must be supplied with electricity all the time to avoid a meltdown. This is what happened at Fukushima Daiichi, which dusted the ground with radionuclides as far as Tokyo and is still leaking radioactive juice into the Pacific.

And so the nightmare scenario for the Ukraine is a simple one. Temperature drops below freezing and stays there for a couple of weeks. Coal and natural gas supplies run down; thermal power plants shut down; the electric grid fails; circulator pumps at the 19 nuclear reactors (which, by the way, probably haven’t been overhauled as recently as they should have been) stop pumping; meltdown!

If this winter stays very, very warm, then the “19 Fukushimas” scenario just may be averted. This is not impossible: we’ve been seeing one freakishly warm winter after another, and each passing month is setting new records. The future is looking hot—as in very warm. Let us pray that it doesn’t also turn out to be hot—as in radioactive.

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Expert: Ukrainian nuclear energy decision could lead to “Chernobyl disaster”

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
 23rd February, 2016
The refusal of Russian fuel cells and the use of American equivalents at the Ukrainian atomic power stations has already led to an accident at the South-Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).
An expert on atomic energy, Alexander Igonin, commented on this on the website “Ukraine.ru”. “The technological inconsistencies of American nuclear fuel and Soviet reactors has already led to accidents at nuclear power plants in Finland, Czech Republic and Ukraine. Despite the official statement that the South-Ukrainian NPP “is all within the normal range”, an unscheduled stop of the reactor is a serious incident, describing the technical state of the station” — he said.
Igonin also noted that the Kiev regime has significantly increased the risks of accidents at Ukrainian nuclear power plants. “The Zaporozhye and South-Ukrainian NPP are the first stations where the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, before the end of the year, decided to start using exclusively American nuclear fuel. According to experts, such a move significantly increases the risk of incidents similar to Chernobyl“, — stated the expert.
He reminded us that in future the Ukrainian authorities intend to make a transition to American nuclear fuel across all operated nuclear power station, with more than a dozen working reactors.
Earlier it was reported that the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant (NPP) disconnected its third turbine due to technical problems.

Ukraine on the brink of a nuclear disaster; Ukrainian saboteurs nearly caused another Fukushima

  1. When Ukrainian terrorists blew up power lines to Crimea last month (to punish Crimeans for seceding from Ukraine), the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant was “one millimeter away from an emergency.” Nuclear reactors require grid electricity to keep reactor cores and fuel rods cool. Without it, they will overheat, explode, and meltdown, just like Fukushima.
  2. Ongoing gas and coal shortages in Ukraine and the resulting electricity blackouts threaten the nuclear power plants in Ukraine every day.
  3. Necessary preventative maintenance, including replacing worn parts at the plants, is not being done or is delayed, creating a dangerous situation.

From Fort Russ

In the coming year the world will observe a sad date, the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion. Could it happen again?

Pavel SHIPILIN,

In Экспресс Газета, December 15, 2015

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter, December 25, 2015

Come January 1, Europe will start draining the last juice from the “Square.” Few gave noted the fact that cutting the power lines to de-energize Crimea nearly led to fatal consequences at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant, which is located in the Mykolaiv region, – an accident on a Chernobyl scale. A miracle saved us all: workers at the station succeeded in a few hours to restore the electricity to the security system. [Nuclear power plants produce electricity, but they need a constant supply of it to avoid meltdown, as in Fukushima, for instance — tr.]

For nearly two years now Ukraine has been teetering on the brink of default, techno disaster, popular revolt. And every time that there is a miracle, and the dire predictions don’t come true, a cure is declared – a victory over Russia, over the elements with the unpredictable laws of nature, over the skeptics. But in the end – common sense.

Last winter was surprisingly warm. As if the one who is responsible for the top temperature, specifically decided to lull the already careless Ukrainian government. Today it is once again assuring the public: there is enough gas — unless there’s a problem.

And it may be right – if a miracle happens again. Experts also warn that if the miracles do not happen, and the temperature in the apartments can’t be maintained at least at + 14 ° C, a catastrophe is imminent. Pipes will burst; heat and electricity will go off-line. In response, experts are declared fear-mongering pessimists. After all, last year they said the same thing – they warned and frightened, backing up arguments with some tricky formulas incomprehensible to the ordinary Maidanists.

There is only one thing: for the power system go off line for decades, would need only a couple of weeks really severe frosts – lower than -15 – 20 ° C. At least at night.

Such cold weather is rare, but still it happens. This is what experts are always taking into account, because no one of them can confidently forecast, but a technological disaster in the middle of winter – is inevitably a tragedy with deadly outcomes. Therefore, the gas must be redundant and not “just enough.”

The lack of gas and coal can lead to accidents in which the entire metropolitan area will be without heat and light. Unfortunately, the amateurs in Kiev may well make a more global catastrophe whose consequences will impact not only the public, but residents of neighboring countries. We are talking about the atomic energy plant.

There are four of them in Ukraine – a total of 16 units. That is 16 potential nuclear bombs. Experts say that it’s thanks to a miracle that new Chernobyls haven’t yet happened.

Vasili Volga, Ukrainian politician and nuclear-energy specialist: “What happened when these, so to speak, “activists” brought down the power lines? Immediately the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant lost a huge amount of electricity, which the system has to have. According to the accounts of shift managers, the guys were on one millimeter away from an emergency. Only the dedicated work of the station staff prevented it.” A state of emergency was miraculously avoided. But Kiev have provided us all with new problems connected with nuclear power. As Vasily Volga spelled out, the specific operation of nuclear power plants requires precise timing of preventive maintenance. Otherwise, every time there is a risk of accidents on the scale of Chernobyl. “As for the core of the nuclear reactor and all the systems and mechanisms that serve it, we just can’t say,” You know, we do not have money just now, and you work, the way you have, and we’re putting off scheduled preventive maintenance.”

“If it clearly states that the gasket in the main centrifugal pump should be changed after a year, then it should be changed after a year.” All the systems and mechanisms that are around Ukrainian nuclear reactors, are produced either in Ukraine or in Russia. Today, due to the rupture of relations, there have been huge time lapses, when scheduled preventive maintenance at nuclear power plants has not been carried out. They know about this in Kiev, but are silent about the problem, because in order to solve it, you have to call Moscow. Or they do not realize how dangerous it is to finance nuclear power on installments.

The eternal question of our Svidomy opponents is why we are so keenly interested in Ukrainian affairs, instead of dealing with our own problems, has a simple answer: because you’re close. Because your refugees are with us. Because thanks to Maidan our trade and economic relations, which made both our countries stronger, have been disrupted. Not to mention the friendship and kinship between our people. Finally, because your problems are directly linked to our own. After all, Kiev does not pay its debts and yet asks worldwide for offensive weapons. It is understandable that systemic problems come up here and there – Ukraine has no money. However, there is one more miracle in Ukraine – for the second year it has managed to avoid a default. A fact the talking heads and the Kiev politicians proudly remind us of. Moreover, on December 8, the IMF decided that even a default can not be an obstacle to Ukraine getting more credit [!].

That is, the entire civilized world, led by the United States, has defended the winners of Maidan. Pessimists and “Moscalis” again notwithstanding. That’s where the real win lay. Let us, however, remember how many loans have been promised and how many have been issued: The European Union promised in 2015 to provide $1.8 billion., USA – $2 billion. Nearly one billion promised to other countries on a bilateral basis. From the IMF, Ukraine was to receive $10 billion. The World Bank has promised to lend $500 million for injection of gas into underground storage [just like in Los Angeles, where over 2000 residents have been evacuated due to leaking methane gas?], but recently began to doubt that this would happen.

So actually this year, Ukraine has received less than half of the promised amounts, two tranches of 6.7 billion from the IMF. Catastrophically short. All other potential lenders under one pretext or another have not fulfilled promises. No one is sure that Ukraine pays debts.

However, the decision of the International Monetary Fund to continue the lending program says that global players will not desist until that unfortunate country undresses to the skin. Kiev will receive new loans so it can pay the old ones — weights hung around the neck of future Ukrainian generations.

“Square” optimists nailed it: declaring a default is not allowed. They will kill Ukraine. The problem can be solved only if nenka* learn how to produce and sell their products, filling the budget with the taxes of successful entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens. But there are practically no prospects.

From 1 January, 2016 a free trade area (FTA) will be in full force between Ukraine and the European Union. Where previously only Ukrainian duty-free goods were sold, now, the direction of trade changes – European goods crossing the Ukrainian border also will not be surrounded by cushioning duties.

To protect its market Russia will put up a customs barrier starting next year. Therefore, in Kiev, they very much expect compensation in Brussels. And Yatsenyuk’s regime has received signals that there will be compensation. We have heard rumors that the EU will allocate $ 600 million. Not much, but at least something.

However, recently the European Union dropped its promises. “We will say frankly, already since we agreed on an FTA, it was no secret that after the introduction, the Russian Federation could act in response, whether we like it or not. And there was plenty of time to prepare for this,” said the European Commissioner Johannes Khan, cynically.

The year and a half that the FTA has been acting in one direction – from east to west, has demonstrated very feeble opportunities for the Ukrainian economy. The miracle did not happen – trade with the West simply collapsed, and was not able to compensate for the loss of the Russian market.

And it’s not working, of course – it was not for this that the Ukrainians were lured to the Association Agreement, to lose money. Come January 1, Europe will begin to receive attachments back. As is customary in the civilized world, ten times over, sucking the last juices out of the colony.

Now Johannes Hahn can afford to speak plain, without hints. In Ukraine there is no way back – just to the economic abyss a millimeter away. Or maybe it is not. ______________________________

*Ukrainian slang term for Ukraine. I’ve been getting used to it. — Tr.

http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/12/ukraine-on-brink-of-nuclear-disaster.html