Bellona’s nuclear digest, June 2023

Source image: The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affiairs

Publish date: July 25, 2023

Written by: Bellona

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Bellona ceased its activity in the aggressor country. On 18 April 2023, the Russian general prosecutor’s office declared Bellona to be an undesirable organization.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Bellona ceased its activity in the aggressor country. On 18 April 2023, the Russian general prosecutor’s office declared Bellona to be an undesirable organization.

However, we continue to monitor events in the field of nuclear and radiation safety relating to Russia and Ukraine, which we believe are of interest to foreign readers. We analyze the situation in order to assess the degree of Russia’s international influence on other countries and the risks connected with this. We present you with a survey of these events for June 2023.

Follow the links to read the digests for May, April and March.  Subscribe to our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the next digest.


Survey of events at the Zaporizhzhia NPP for June


Westinghouse and Energoatom strengthen nuclear safety in Ukraine

Financing nuclear safety in Ukraine

11th EU sanction package

Framatome works on 100% European fuel for VVERs

Work commences on the APIS project to use Westinghouse fuel for VVER reactors in Europe

The Atlantic declaration of the USA and the UK

Sweden seeks to lift ban on uranium production

USA reduces uranium purchases from Russia by one quarter


Rosatom’s international projects. A survey of events.



Survey of events at the Zaporizhzhia NPP for June

On 2 June, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi expressed concern about the disconnection on 17 May of the automatic data transfer from eight radiation monitoring stations located near the ZNPP to Ukrainian authorities, and said the IAEA is addressing this issue with plant management and relevant officials.

On 6 June, the dam of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant burst, causing a drastic drop in the water level in the following days in the Kakhovka reservoir, by which the Zaporizhzhia NPP is located. Bellona has described  the official reaction to the incident in detail. Assessments of the impact of this disaster on the nuclear and radioactive safety of the Zaporizhzhia NPP made by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the IAEA are generally similar. They say that in the plant’s current state, where all its reactors are switched off and there is no demand for a large amount of water for cooling, this does not pose a direct threat for the reactors.

Three days after the dam burst, on the evening of 9 June, the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir had dropped by more than 5 meters, to 11.6 m, compared with 16.8 m before the disaster. In the following days, it became impossible to pump water from the reservoir to irrigate hydraulic structures according to the established procedure, although such attempts were made later, for example on 23 June. According to  information from the IAEA, the existing supplies of water in the cooling pond and the channels of the Zaporizhzhia Thermal Power Plant (ZTPP) should be sufficient for several months at the current consumption rate of the ZNPP.

grossi nuclear digest IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at a meeting with Director General of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev, Kaliningrad, 23 June 2023. Credit: Atom Media

On 15 June, Grossi visited the Zaporizhzhia NPP for the third time during the war, and for the first time since the Kakhovka dam burst, as he implemented the latest rotation of the IAEA mission at the plant, and investigated actions taken to provide water to the plant in the current situation. The IAEA delegation inspected the isolation gates of the cooling pond and the channels of the ZTPP. IAEA representatives reported that work had been carried out to strengthen hydraulic seals holding the water in the cooling pond, and that to maintain water supplies in the cooling pond and ZTPP channels, underground springs could be used, as well as mobile pumps which can potentially pump water from lower levels of the reservoir. Later IAEA reports stated that these springs had begun to be used, with a report of 21 June stating that the system of irrigating spray ponds was replenished  through pumping from a drainage system fed by underground water.

According to IAEA’s information, from 30 June the reactors  (this probably refers to the requirements of unit No. 5, which remains in a state of hot shutdown – note by Bellona) continued to be cooled with the essential cooling system, which was replenished with underground water pumped from the site’s drainage system. For other water needs, the plant recently switched from using the ZTPP discharge channel to the large cooling pond next to the site. The level of the ZNPP cooling pond drops by 1 centimeter per day from plant operation and evaporation, but the water from the drainage system is also used for filling the pond, thus reducing the drop in the water level. According to IAEA information, the water level in the cooling pond at the end of June came to just over 16.5 meters.

According to information from Energoatom, the water level in the cooling pond dropped by approximately 10 cm in the month since the Kakhovka dam burst, from 16.66 m on 9 June to 16.56 m on 5 July. According to Bellona’s assessments, this shows a loss of around 1 million m3 of water, or 2% of the volume of the cooling pond, and greatly exceeds the plant’s needs for water and the loss from evaporation, which is quite a high and alarming figure, comparable with water losses when the plant is working at full capacity. The water level has also been decreasing at a greater rate in recent days, and in one week, as of July 12, the water level had dropped drastically by another 9 cm, to 16.47 m.

This may all show a possible increase of drainage through the dam of the cooling pond, caused by the major drop in the water level outside the dam (over 7 m), the drying of external walls, or possible damage to the dam, which raises serious concerns on the possibility for long-term retention of water supplies for the plant’s needs. In Bellona’s opinion, to decrease water losses and to ensure safety of the plant, it is undoubtedly necessary to put all the power units into cold shutdown and organize stable irrigation of spray ponds from alternative sources.

satellite picture kakhovka dam Satellite images with examples of places of possible water drainage through the base of the cooling pond dam. This drainage is observed along the entire perimeter of the dam, only a few places are shown in close-up on the image. Credit: Bellona infographic based on satellite images from Sentinel Hub and EarthCache/SkyWatch.

Bellona experts gave a detailed discussion of the plant’s water needs and the vulnerable places of its cooling system in the current situation in a webinar of the international Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Work Group (UWEC). A video recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube channel  at this link .

On 8 June, two days after the Kakhovka HPP dam burst, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine issued an order  to the operator of the ZNPP Energoatom, to move power unit 5 from hot shutdown to cold shutdown. This decision was justified by the drying out of the Kakhovka reservoir, the fact that the Automated Radiation Monitoring System (ARMS) had ceased transmitting information since 17 May 2023, and the degradation of the emergency response system at the ZNPP site.

The Russian side, which controls the situation at the plant, ignored changes at the plant and the decision of the Ukrainian regulator, and continues to maintain unit 5 in a state of hot shutdown. During Grossi’s visit to the ZNPP on 15 June this issue was not raised, or at least it was not mentioned in the IAEA’s information reports.

On 28 June, the State Regulatory issued decree №338 changing the license for operation of power units 3-6 of the ZNPP. According to the changes, units 4, 5 and 6 are now only permitted to operate in cold shutdown. Unit 3 in shutdown for repairs and cold shutdown. Units 1 and 2 are only permitted to operate in cold shutdown according to earlier changes.

On 30 June in information report №168 the IAEA reported that its experts had visited the Unit 5 main control room on 29 June and confirmed the hot shutdown status. The experts have also been informed that the plant is still assessing the need for steam to determine what type of external steam generator could be installed and possibly allow the cold shutdown of Unit 5. According to unofficial information of Bellona obtained on 10 July, the Russian side intends to put unit 5 in cold shutdown, but is also considering putting unit 4 in hot shutdown instead.

spray ponds Zaporizhzhia Spray ponds of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. The photo was taken during the visit of the head of the IAEA to the station on June 15, 2023 Credit: IAEA

On 20 June the head of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budano  reported the mining of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, in particular the mining of the cooling pond, damage to which could cause serious consequences at the plant. Two days later, on 22 June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recorded a  video appeal  where he stated that according to intelligence, Russia was considering a scenario of a terrorist act at the Zaporizhzhia NPP with the release of radiation. The next day, 23 June, this issue was discussed  at a session of the UN Security Council in New York, but no resolutions were passed on this matter.

Also on 23 June, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko reported that in connection with a possible acts of terrorism at the NPP, an interdepartmental headquarters had been created in Ukraine which would include energy workers, rescuers, police and medics. He announced that training would commence in the following days, with roads being closed and sanitation checkpoints set up. “All citizens who wish to leave this territory will be provided with appropriate transport,” Klymenko said, specifying that this concerned the 200-kilometer zone around the ZNPP. According to his calculations, the population of this zone is around 500,000 people.

On 29 June in the Zaporizhzhia, Dnepropetrovsk and Kherson regions of Ukraine, large-scale two-day training exercises began, aimed at developing protocols for joint actions by different departments and special services for swift response and minimalizing the consequences of radiation release at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. As part of the training, sanitation checkpoints were established to check transport leaving inhabited settlements, where the radiation background was measured, and cars and evacuated people were examined and treated.

safety training ZNPP Training exercises for preparations in the event of an accident at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Credit: : Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs.

On 30 June at the interdepartmental crisis headquarters, the results  were analyzed  of two-day training exercises by emergency services to deal with the consequences of a possible act of terrorism at the occupied ZNPP. According to Ukraine Energy Ministry German Galushchenko, Ukraine now has restricted access to monitoring the situation at the plan, but outside the plant there are sufficient counters that can register an emergency situation at the NPP. During the training exercises, mobile stations of radiation monitoring were deployed to test these counters.

The IAEA has increased its presence at the ZNPP in order to monitor compliance with the five basic principles for protecting the plant during the military conflict that were established by Director General Grossi at the United Nations Security Council in late May.

No mines were observed at the site during the Director General’s visit, including the cooling pond. However, the IAEA is aware of previous placement of mines outside the plant perimeter, which the Agency has previously reported, and also at particular places inside –  which security personnel at the plant explained were for defensive purposes. “Our assessment of those particular placements was that while the presence of any explosive device is not in line with safety standards, the main safety functions of the facility would not be significantly affected. We are following the issue with great attention,” Director General Grossi said.

Grossi later announced that IAEA experts still need additional access to carry out further such checks at the site, including parts of the turbine halls and some parts of the cooling system. At the end of June, IAEA inspectors had still not detected mines or other explosive at the plant in places they were permitted access. Given the very limited number of places they could access, reports of mines should be taken very seriously.

Commentary by Bellona: The tension surrounding the ZNPP will continue until the war ends, and even afterwards. Russia will take various measures (mining sites, establishing firing positions etc.) with the aim of blackmailing Ukraine and the international community, making it clear that if Ukraine tries to regain the nuclear plant by military methods, then radioactive and even nuclear incidents may take place with unpredictable consequences, which Russia will attempt to blame on Ukraine. This looks like nuclear blackmail by Russia, so it can hold on to the captured territories and put a stop to military operations and a Ukrainian counterattack, at least in the area around the NPP. There are so far no signs that the international community can find a diplomatic solution to this situation. So an escalation in tension is inevitable. Despite numerous expert assessments, showing the low probability of a major nuclear incident at the plant given the current state of its power units, it is impossible to give an accurate prediction of the future development of events.

After Russia withdraws from the ZNPP, the threat from this site may not necessarily drop. Firstly, it is not possible to predict what state Russia will leave the nuclear plant in, and what damages may be detected there. Secondly, the shutdown mode in which the power units have been in for a long time, especially unit 5, is not suitable for operation and not provided for by the technical regulations for these types of nuclear power units. Factors of unprofessionalism and sabotage cannot be ruled out. If it was permissible to blow up the Kakhovka dam, then perhaps it is permissible to reduce the nuclear power units to a state when they are impossible to operate. Evidently, the NPP units require complete overhauls or even other more serious measures, including replacement of equipment and reconstruction of hydraulic structures and cooling systems. Therefore, the Zaporizhzhia NPP will be in sight of the interested public and experts of various levels for a long time to come, even if no accidents involving a release of radiation take place here.


Westinghouse and Energoatom strengthen nuclear safety in Ukraine

On 13 June Westinghouse Electric Company signed a contract with Energoatom to design, manufacture and deliver Long-Term Containment Cooling Systems as part of the modernization of Rivne Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2 in northern Ukraine. In case of an accident, the specified system ensures the long-term maintenance of the core in a safe state, so its installation will positively affect the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine and provide additional protection for reactor installations.

This major engineering contract strengthens a longstanding strategic partnership between Westinghouse and Energoatom that includes supplying all VVER nuclear fuel for the country’s operating reactor fleet and collaborating on the deployment of nine new AP1000 reactors in Ukraine.

Financing nuclear safety in Ukraine

On 7 June, at a meeting of the Board of Governors in Vienna, the UK announced an additional £750,000 (around 870,000 Euros) of funding to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support its missions in Ukraine.

At the meeting, Director General Grossi presented the latest report on Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine. The report outlined the state of nuclear safety at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, and in particular the deeply concerning situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The IAEA Director General’s report also sets out numerous concerns: Russian military presence at the site and the immense pressure placed on the Ukrainian operating personnel and their families.

The UK has now provided £5 million (around 5.8 million Euros) to support IAEA efforts in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country, and also gives an annual budgetary contribution to the IAEA’s work. The additional funds will help the IAEA continue its vital work in Ukraine providing support and advice to the Ukrainian government in nuclear safety. UK funding also facilitates training in detection of radiological materials and expert investigative missions to nuclear power plants.

On the same day, the Austrian government also announced it would provide 1 million Euros to the IAEA to support activity on nuclear safety in Ukraine. Among other things, these funds will support the deployment and work of an IAEA team that is stationed in every Ukrainian nuclear power plant on a rotating basis.

On 16 June, the Belgian government approved a new financial support package to Ukraine. Belgium will support IAEA activities in Ukraine with a contribution of 1 million Euros

On 19 June, the Norwegian government announced that it was increasing support of nuclear safety in Ukraine by 250 million Norwegian Kroner (around 21. 2 million Euros). Of this, 100 million Kroner (around 8.5 million Euros) will be provided to support the presence of IAEA experts in Ukraine.

In addition, Norway is increasing its funding for nuclear safety and security cooperation with Ukraine by 150 million Norwegian Krona (around 12.7 million Euros). This funding will be administered by the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA), and will be used to reduce the risk of accidents and incidents involving the release of radioactive substances, and to reduce the risk of radioactive material falling into the wrong hands.

Norway was one of the first countries to deliver equipment to Ukraine to enhance nuclear safety and security following Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. As early as March 2022, Norway provided equipment to the Ukrainian border control authorities and to the Rivne nuclear power plant.

11th EU sanction package

On 23 June, the European Union passed the 11th package of sanctions against Russia, intended to strengthen existing EU sanctions and crack down on their circumvention. The proposals of a number of European countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Germany) to introduce significant restrictions against Rosatom were not included in the package. The list of companies whose assets are frozen in the EU was added to by the Troitsk Institute for Innovation and Fusion Research (SRC RF TRINITI), a Rosatom enterprise, whose research and development in the field of laser physics is directly financed with funds from the Russian State Defense Order (previously, on 25 February 2023, FSUE Atomflot  was included on this list).

We should also note that in previous  EU sanction packages, the companies which had export restrictions on dual use goods and technologies included several enterprises of Rosatom: the Alexandrov Research Institute of Technology (NITI), a center for comprehensive testing of naval reactor prototypes; the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Dukhov Automatics Research Institute  (VNIIA) one of the main fields of activity of which is development and serial production of software and hardware for automated systems of controlling technologies processes of nuclear and thermal power stations; JSC NIKIET, one of Russia’s largest nuclear construction and scientific research centers, specializing in reactor technologies; the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (FSUE RFNC-VNIIEF) , with the primary task of ensuring the reliability and safety of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Commentary by Bellona: As discussed earlier, sanctions have so far done virtually no significant harm to Rosatom. It is hard to say when noticeable sanctions will be applied. Perhaps they will be connected with certain events at the ZNPP. Although now certain steps can be observed to reduce the dependence of international nuclear programs and projects on Rosatom. This primarily concerns substitution of Russian fuel at European NPPs and a reduction in uranium purchases in the USA. Forcing Russia out of the international nuclear business will be a long and difficult process, but a constant one.

Framatome works on 100% European fuel for VVERs

The French manufacturer of equipment for NPPs Framatome and the Slovakian power company Slovenské elektrárne signed a memorandum of understanding  on 31 May, expanding long-term partnership in the field of nuclear power. One of the key fields of the memorandum is cooperation in long-term diversification of fuel for the Bohunice and Mochovce  nuclear power plants in Slovakia

In order to ensure the safety and continuity of operation of nuclear power plants with VVER 440 pressurized water reactors, Framatome, in cooperation with Slovenské elektrárne and other European operators, is focusing on the development of a 100% European nuclear fuel design for this type of reactors.

“For several years now, Framatome has been developing an industrial solution to support VVER nuclear operators with respective short- and mid-term needs, for both VVER 1000 MW and VVER 440 MW reactors,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the Fuel Business Unit at Framatome.

There are 19 VVER operating reactors in Europe, including four VVER 1000 MW reactors in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and 15 VVER 440 MW reactors in Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

framatome deal Framatome and Slovenské elektrárne will cooperate in diversification of fuel for VVER reactors Credit: Slovenské elektrárne

Work commences on the APIS project to use Westinghouse fuel for VVER reactors in Europe

Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB and 11 European partners are going to start conjointly working on the Accelerated Program for Implementation of Secure VVER Fuel Supply (APIS). The purpose of the project is to meet the urgent need of the countries operating such reactors, for an alternative fuel.

Several enterprises will work together on the project: CEZ AS (Czech Republic), Energoatom (Ukraine), Fortum (Finland), PAKSI ATOM (Hungary), Slovenske Elektrarne AS (Slovakia); fuel manufacturers Westinghouse (Sweden) and Enusa (Spain), and also fuel engineering and research organizations:  JRC-Joint Research Centre – European Commission, Belgium, State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine, UJV REZ AS, Czech Republic, Uppsala University, Sweden and Vuje AS, Slovakia.

The project was launched in January 2023 and planned for three years. It is co-financed by the European Union and is part of the EU’s Horizon Europe program for research and innovation. It consists of 11 work packages in various fields, including:

– completion of the VVER-440 fuel design for short term delivery;
– development of improved and advanced VVER-440 and VVER-1000 fuel designs;
– standardization of the fuel licensing;
– complete the re-instatement of fuel manufacturing capabilities;
– analysis of fuel related plant lifetime extension.

In March, the head of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine Oleh Korikov reported that Ukraine plans to receive the first delivery of nuclear fuel manufactured by Westinghouse for VVER-440 reactors this year.

euro NPPs VVER reactors map European NPPs with VVER reactors Credit: APIS project website

The Atlantic declaration of the USA and the UK

On 8 June, the UK and the USA passed the “Atlantic Declaration”, which sets out the foundations of economic partnership of the two countries in solving vital economic problems in such areas as clean energy, critical minerals (cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese and nickel) and artificial intelligence. According to the plan, the UK and the USA will strengthen their supply chains, develop future technologies and invest in each other’s industries.

The program announces the launch of partnership in the field of nuclear power . As part of cooperation in the clean energy sphere, a joint initiative group will be created, one of the tasks of which will be determining near-term priorities for joint action to encourage the establishment of new infrastructure and end-to-end fuel cycle capabilities by 2030 in both continents, and substantially minimize reliance on Russian fuel, supplies, and services. These priorities will be the basis for the Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation, which is designed to fulfill common obligations by the end of the year and serve as a permanent bilateral forum for the advancement of common political goals within the existing mechanisms of interaction.

Sweden seeks to lift ban on uranium production

The Swedish Minister for Climate and Environment Romina Pourmokhtari is seeking to lift the ban on uranium production, SVT Nyheter reports. The issue on uranium production in Sweden, which has the largest supplies in the EU (around 27% of European uranium supplies) has long been controversial. In the early 2000s, hundreds of permits were issued for uranium prospecting all over the country, but in 2018 uranium production was banned because of the serious environmental and health risks from uranium mines.

According to Pourmokhtari, Sweden now requires more uranium, as new nuclear facilities are planned for construction, and the country must be able to produce more electricity without using fossil fuel. She also believes that the stimulus for permitting uranium production in Sweden, despite the risks, is that the country’s mining industry is the “finest in the world” for its safety and environmental friendliness.

USA reduces uranium purchases from Russia by one quarter

On 13 June, the US Energy Information Administration published the  2022 Uranium Marketing Annual Report presenting detailed figures on the US uranium market from 2017 and 2022, and also a summary of data up to 2001.

According to the report, American operators of nuclear power stations reduced purchases of uranium from Russia in 2002 by 24%, up to 4.78 million pounds of U3O8 equivalent. This volume includes natural uranium (U3O8, triuranium octoxide), uranium hexafluoride (UF6, a conversion product of natural uranium) and enriched uranium.

Russia’s share in the US uranium market has dropped insignificantly, as American customers have reduced purchase volumes overall. The total purchases of uranium in the USA (including the country’s own production) dropped by 13% for the year, to 40.5 million pounds of U3O8 equivalent (23.5 million pounds of natural uranium, 8 million pounds of UF6 and around 9 million pounds of enriched uranium). The share of Russian uranium in 2022 came to 11.7% compared with 13% in 2021.

Volumes of deliveries from Russia, judging by statistics from recent years, depend significantly on the price, and increase during periods of low prices.

Russia remains the leader for supplying services of uranium enrichment for US NPPs. In 2022 in this segment Russia accounted for 33% of imported services (24% including US production) or 3.4 million separative work units (SWU). The remaining deliveries came primarily from the EU and the UK, where the Urenco plant is located. The volume of deliveries from the sole American enrichment plant Urenco came to 3.9 million SWU.

uranium concentrate Uranium concentrate Credit: : IAEA website /Photo Credit Areva


Rosatom’s international projects. A survey of events.

Hungary. On 25 May the European Commission approved amendments to the basic agreement between Russia and Hungary on construction and financing of the Paks-2 NPP.

After negotiations on 5 June with the director of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced that now in the construction of the Paks-2 NPP, a transition should take place to a stage of direct construction of the two new power units according to Rosatom’s project – full-scale works for ground stabilization will begin in July. Szijjártó explained that this concerned creating a basis for building the foundation of power unit 5 of the NPP, where the pouring of the first concrete may soon begin. At the same time, ground excavation will begin for the foundation pit of the power unit 6.

The Hungarian nuclear power department first issued a license  for construction of power units 5 and 6 of Pakls-2 in 25 August 2022.

On 8 June 2023 a meeting took place between Rosatom general director Alexey Likhachev and the Chairman of the Cabinet of Minister of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Zhaparov. Among other things, Likhachev discussed progress on the project to develop a small modular reactor (SMR) on the basis of the RITM-200N reactor system in Kyrgyzstan.

According to the annual report of Atomenergoprom, Rosatom proposes to complete all planned works on the preliminary technical and economic assessment of the SMR for Kyrgyzstan in 2023. The report also mentions plans to realize a preliminary technical and economic assessment for Myanmar and India.

On 15 June at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, an agreement was signed between Rosatom and TSS Group (developer and manufacturer of complex solutions for well completion, and also energy provision of the oil and gas sector) on the main conditions for creating a power fleet for foreign markets on the basis of floating nuclear plants (FNP) with RITM-200M reactors. The parties plan to create a joint enterprise on a partnership basis, which will launch construction of a series of FNPs with a capacity of at least 100 MW and a scheduled service period of up to 60 years for foreign markets, and subsequent sale of electricity from the FNP in the countries of presence. This agreement signed is a framework agreement, and it is expected that the legally and financially binding documents will be signed later. The parties envisage the target markets as being in countries of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. It is expected that the power fleet will be put into operation in the period from 2029 to 2036.

On 14 June, the Sri Lankan ambassador to the Russian Federation Janitha Liyanage announced  that Rosatom and Sri Lanka had reached an agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant with a capacity of up to 300 MW. “There is a proposal, there is also approval from the Sri Lankan government, and the IAEA is also working on this issue. We are moving towards building a nuclear power plant on the island, but discussion is still continuing as to whether this will be a floating nuclear plant or a land-based plant,” said Liyanage.

Bangladesh expects to receive the first fuel for the plant in Ruppur in September. This was announced  on 24 June by Science and Technology Minster Yeafesh Osman. According to the project plan, the first unit of the NPP with a capacity of 1200 MW will be put into industrial operation in the first quarter of 2024.

Commentary by Bellona: Rosatom continues its activity building reactors abroad and persistently seeks new partner clients. In June, there were constant reports about achievements with Rosatom’s new partner  Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bolivia. One gets the impression that Rosatom is facing a crisis, so it is glad to have the opportunity to work anywhere outside Russia.

Within Russia, Rosatom is primarily concentrated on working in the Arctic on the Northern Sea Route, manufacturing medical equipment and preparations, developing production facilities for import substitution, organizing events for school pupils and athletes, and also taking part in establishing education programs. Rosatom is also seen to be active in manufacturing elements and equipment connected with wind power and electricity accumulators. One should also note Rosatom’s high level of activity at the 16th St. Petersburg Economic Forum, where it was one of the three most noticeable companies. These facts show that Rosatom enjoys support in the Russian leadership, and constantly tries to appear in news reports that are not connected to the war.


  1. On 1 June, Bellona published the report “The Radiation Risks of Seizing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant” with a survey of all possible accident scenarios at the plant in the situation of occupation, regular shelling and breakage of electricity lines, an assessment of the possible environmental consequences of such accidents and a number of recommendations on which aspects would require particular attention in the near future. The report also gave an analysis of the scenario of a dam burst at the Kakhovka HPP, which unfortunately became reality on 6 June 2023.
  2. On 13 June, the US Energy Information Administration published the 2022 Uranium Marketing Annual Report, which provides detailed data on activity on the US uranium market from 2017 and 2022, and also summary data up to 2001. The document is analyzed in more detail in the current digest.
  3. On 21 June Bellona published the article ““Nuclear Power in the World in a Situation of War and Climate Crisis” , with a survey of the latest changes, trends and prospects for world nuclear power taking into account the events of recent years. The article was initially prepared specially for the issue 86 of the magazine “Environment and Right” .
  4. On 29 June, Bellona published the report “Rosatom’s role in the war in Ukraine”, describing facts of the Russian nuclear state corporation’s involvement in the war in Ukraine – from a detailed list of attacks on nuclear site of Ukraine, including the occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP, in which Rosatom participated directly or indirectly, to involvement in supplying weaponry for the Russian army and political influence on countries in which Russian nuclear projects are realized. The report was published in  English  and  Russian .
  5. On 1 June Bellona expert Dmitry Gorchakov spoke at the webinar of the international Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Work Group (UWEC) with a survey of how the damn burst at the Kakhovka HPP had affected the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the plant’s current water needs and the prospects of various accident scenarios at the plant. A video recording of the presentation is available on our YouTube channel at this link.
  6. In early July a large number of publications appeared with expert assessments of the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in the new conditions. We recommend several of them:
  • Article  by Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety, The Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Article by Professor Matthew Bunn in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
  • Article in The Kyiv Independent with an interview with Ukrainian professor Mark Zhelezniak
  • Broadcast on Radio Liberty with the opinions of Ukrainian experts Olga Kosharnaya and Nikolai Shteinberg