Accident at Mangystau Nuclear Plant Forces Shut down, Kazakhstan

UPDATE (1133 EST): According to Kazakh state-owned media the emergency was caused by a “sharp increase in boiler feed water.” Officials are waiting 24 hours to start repairs while Power Unit 1 cools down after emergency shut down.

At approximately 0930 EST, reports bagen to emerge of an emergency situation at Atyrau oil refinery in Kazakhstan. By 1100EST, mass power outages had hit the Mangystau region.

Local utility companies announced that power stations throughout the region switched to “island” mode in order to mitigate the massive power flux from the primary nuclear plant. By 1120 EST, the aforementioned emergency situation at Atyrau had been attributed to a separate incident at the Mangystau Nuclear Power Plant which provides electricity to the oil refinery.

AT 1125 EST, the Kazakhstan government made this announcement:

“On July 03, 2023, at 18:23 p.m., power unit No. 1 with a load of 130 MW was accidentally shut down at the thermal power plant of MAEK LLP.

Due to the sharp discharge of generation in the Western power node, the frequency of the electrical network decreased to 48.6 Hz. Because of this, the Mangistau and Atyrau power nodes are allocated for isolated work. For the same reason, Atyrau CHPP, Karabatan Utility Solutions combined-cycle plant, Kalamkas gas stations and TCO are allocated for isolated work.

Restrictions have been imposed on industrial enterprises and part of settlements.

At 19h.22m. The Atyrau power plant is synchronized with the Western power node.

At 8.36 p.m. The Mangistau power plant is synchronized with the power system, restrictions are removed.”

While it appears that the Kazakh government has resolved the issue, the emergency shut down at the nuclear power plant and corresponding chaos have not been properly explained as of this publication.

This is developing.

The Mangystau Nuclear Power Plant operates the BN-350 reactor, which is a sodium-cooled, fast reactor. It is located in Aktau (formerly known as Shevchenko under the control of the USSR in 1964–1992), Kazakhstan, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. This reactor is currently undergoing decommissioning.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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