Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

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    • A team of officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Ukraine to assess the condition of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant .

    About Zaporizhzhia 

    • City : Zaporizhzhia is an important town in the Ukraine’s southeast that houses the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. 
      • It is about 40 km (25 miles) up the Dnieper River from the nuclear plant
    • Nuclear Plant : Ukraine has four nuclear power stations comprising 15 reactors.
      • The plant at Zaporizhzhia has six reactors, which together produce about 5,700 MW of electricity. Nuclear energy caters to about half of Ukraine’s power demand. 
      • Ukraine is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state. Each of its nuclear facilities is under IAEA safeguards. That means every bit of nuclear material and fuel, every kilogram of uranium and every gram of plutonium, has to be accounted for and reported.
    • Control : Russian forces attacked the plant in March 2022 and took control of it relatively easily.
    • Safety : The Zaporizhzhia reactors are said to be quite safe. Gunfire or even shelling is unlikely to cause much harm or result in a nuclear accident. However, it is unclear how the reactors would face up to powerful bombs or missile attacks.
      • Recent issues : An escalation of the conflict in the town this month, including shelling and mortar attacks, some of which damaged parts of the nuclear station, has raised the spectre of nuclear disaster.
    • Future prospect :the situation is extremely volatile and  It is expected that neither of the parties would be so reckless so as to directly bomb the reactor to trigger a nuclear explosion.

    Nuclear power reactors Development in India 

    • India’s first pair of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR)of 220 MW each were set up at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan in the 1960s with Canadian support.
    • The second reactor had to be built with significant domestic components as Canada withdrew support following India’s peaceful nuclear tests in 1974.
    • Currently, India operates 22 reactors with a total capacity of 6780 MW in operation. 
    • NITI Aayog member and scientist V. K. Saraswat recently suggested that the government should focus on setting up small modular reactors as it would help meet India’s energy needs and also in replacing ageing thermal power plants.

    Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR)

    • The PHWR is a heavy water cooled and heavy water moderated natural uranium based fuel reactor. It consists of a horizontal cylindrical vessel called “Calandria” which holds heavy water moderator at nearly ambient pressure and temperature

     International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA)

    • The Statute of the IAEA was approved on 23 October 1956 by the Conference on the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was held at the Headquarters of the United Nations. It came into force on 29 July 1957.
    • It is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field. 
    • It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

    Source:IE