ASN Report 2022

ASN mobilises against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine he war in Ukraine is weakening the safety of the nuclear installations, some of which are within actual combat zones. Although these installations generally offer significant levels of robustness to external natural or industrial hazards, they are however not designed to withstand the full range of weapons and ammunition to be found in an armed conflict. Although no radioactivity release accident has as yet been observed, 2022 saw a series of events which lastingly and worryingly affect the safety of the country’s four nuclear sites, more specifically that of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). As early as the month of February, ASN and its counterparts came together to ensure that, in the case of an event on a Ukrainian nuclear installation, they would be able to provide the public authorities with coordinated assistance. T 16 ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 Notable events 2022 Zaporizhzhia NPP – september 2022 The war in Ukraine is weakening the safety of the nuclear facilities As of the beginning of the war, in February 2022, the Ukrainian nuclear installations found themselves at the centre of the conflict and were lastingly affected. Damage from shelling was observed very early on, at the Kharkiv site, on a radioactive waste disposal site near Kyiv and at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Loss of electrical power(1) affected the Chernobyl NPP in March and then since August has repeatedly affected the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which is home to six of the country’s fifteen nuclear power reactors. Nuclear safety is not purely a technical issue, depending solely on the condition of the installations: it is also built around people and organisations. At the beginning of the conflict, the shift rotation for the Ukrainian personnel present on the Chernobyl site only took place after more than two weeks of Russian occupation; this absence of shift rotation is in itself a factor that weakens safety. Current preoccupations surrounding the Zaporizhzhia NPP also concern organisational and human issues, following the capture of the site by the Russians and the replacement of several Ukrainian managers with personnel they appointed themselves. This situation raises questions concerning the clarity of the chain of responsibility and decision-making, which is essential in situations where several options are possible and where a decision must be taken quickly and executed reliably. Furthermore, in the current context of fighting close to the plant, the teams are subjected to permanent stress and – according to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) –