Ukraine says technical fault cuts power at nuclear plant

Ukraine says technical fault cuts power at nuclear plant

KIEV - The Associated Press
Ukraine says technical fault cuts power at nuclear plant

Ukraine's Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn speaks to the media during a news conference in Kiev, Dec. 3. REUTERS Photo

Ukraine's energy minister said Dec. 3 that a technical fault at a nuclear power plant in the south of country has cut power production but he insisted it poses no danger.

Volodymr Demchishin told a press briefing that a short circuit at a power-generating unit in the Zaporozhiya plant led to a drop in electricity production, and that normal output will be restored by the weekend.

The plant's operator revealed earlier this week that a problem had occurred with a power-generating unit, but concern was provoked Dec. 3 after Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk referred to an unspecified incident during a Cabinet meeting.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis said on his Twitter account that the risk status at the affected plant, as assessed according the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, is currently below zero, meaning there is no significance for safety.

Anxieties over nuclear safety run high in Ukraine, which continues to struggle with the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

The incident at the Zaporozhiya plant is compounding what is already a crunch in electricity provision in Ukraine.

Power distribution company DTEK Dneproblenergo said Dec. 1 that it was introducing a rolling series of blackouts to deal with the shortfall in electricity production.

Demchishin said that Ukraine will likely be compelled to import power from Russia, despite the dismal state of diplomatic relations between the countries.

"In this complicated situation with the energy system balance, this is a necessary step, no matter how politically problematic it might be," he said.

Those supplies could start in the coming few days, Demchishin said.