The visit focused on two contrasting sides of the Ukrainian nuclear industry, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Zaporizhia nuclear station.
The first part of the tour involved a visit to Slavutych, a purpose-built town for evacuees of the exclusion zone who continued to work at Chernobyl following the nuclear accident in 1986.
Lead organiser Nick Thorley, Sellafield Ltd said: “Slavutych is home to the International Chornobyl Centre where, for many years, scientists have studied the environmental impact of the accident. We received a fascinating overview of the ecology of the Chernobyl exclusion zone and found out how the area has transformed into a ‘wildlife paradise’, in which species such as wild boar, brown bears and elks are thriving.”
The group then travelled to Chernobyl where they witnessed the colossal arch that is being constructed to replace the existing sarcophagus. Nick said: “This international collaborative project, which aims to contain the remaining nuclear fuel that was not released as a result of the accident, is due to be complete by 2015.”
The following day, the group visited the Chernobyl Museum in the old town of Kiev which was filled with artefacts and stories detailing the human impact of the accident, followed by a shared learning seminar where six members of the delegation presented on topics ranging from the Government Decontamination Service to the Orion Laser Facility.
From Kiev, the group visited Zaporizhia NPP in Enerhodar, the largest generating nuclear power station inEurope, where they were given a presentation on the VVER-1000 reactor design and shown around the Turbine Hall and the Control Room Simulators.
Nick said: “The trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some incredible sights. Everyone agreed that they had learnt so much about the country and its nuclear industry, and that valuable lessons would be transferred back into their day jobs. It provided a stark reminder of the necessity for a thorough and rigorous safety culture in the nuclear industry today.”