GEF-UNIDO PROJECT
«ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT AND FINAL DISPOSAL OF POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBs) IN UKRAINE»

In 2003, there was conducted a PCB inventory with the support of the UNEP in Ukraine. Information collection was organized according to the "Methods and Guidelines for the detection and identification of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)" of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. National experts have identified major fields of PCBs use and recorded brand names, types of electrical equipment and synthetic fluids containing PCBs. During the inventory, companies and organizations were asked to fill out a special form, developed according to the Ukrainian data collection system established by National analytical services.

The inventory data was obtained from over 4500 major industrial enterprises of Ukraine.

Some inventory results are shown on the following maps:

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By number of PCB-containing transformers:

  • Donetsk region (21 %)
  • Dnipropetrovsk region (9 %)
  • Kyiv region (9 %)

By number of PCB-containing capacitors:

  • Zaporizhia region (16%)
  • Autonomuos Republic of Crimea (9%)
  • Dnipropetrovsk region (7%)

By amount of synthetic fluids with PCBs:

  • Volyn region (27%)
  • Donetsk region (19%)
  • Dnipropetrovsk region (18%)

Among national industries, metallurgy has the largest number of transformers contaminated with high concentration PCBs, whereas the largest number of capacitors contaminated with PCBs belongs to mechanical engineering. According to the preliminary inventory, approximately 5,000 tons of PCBs were identified in equipment and facilities located on the territory of Ukraine.

The executive bodies of the Stockholm and Basel Conventions developed a number of guidelines for inventory and environmentally sound management of PCBs that are being regularly updated. Guidelines for inventory and waste management that were adopted in 2015-2016 are the following:

  • PCB inventory guidance (UNEP, 2016)
  • Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)

One of the Project objectives is harmonization of these guidelines with the Ukrainian legislation.

Environmentally efficient system for PCB management requires not only regulatory and methodological but also technological support. Since equipment for PCB disposal is quite expensive, companies operating in the field of hazardous waste management in Ukraine own licenses that cover only PCB collection, transportation and storage. There are some incinerators with gas scrubbing systems that could be upgraded and used for PCB-containing waste disposal.

GEF-UNIDO will also assist in development of an optimal strategy for production capacity building in the field of PCB management and disposal.

First of all, it requires both raising public awareness on technology solutions for PCB disposal applied abroad and evaluation of its effectiveness in Ukraine. From a practical perspective, the most acceptable overview of such technology with the elements of evaluation and comparative analysis was conducted by the UNIDO International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS). 

Ukrainian experts have successfully used this overview for their analysis. It is necessary to develop Ukrainian version of the “Guide to the best available technology on POP disposal” based on the technology overview. Subsequently, after reforming the Ukrainian licensing system in accordance with the principles of the European Guidance to integrated pollution prevention and control, this methodical document can become a reliable tool for assessment of licensed technology.

 

On the territory of Ukraine, PCBs and PCB-containing equipment haven’t been produced. Although, PCB-containing capacitors and transformers made in Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Poland and the Czech Republic are still used in the country. The vast majority of them are hermetically sealed three-phase step-down transformers, including general-purpose transformers with apparent power ranging from 25 to 2500 kVA as well as welding, rectifer and converter transformers with 400 to 2500 kVA rating. Transformers were filled with 160 to 4160 kg of Sovtol that served as a dielectric cooling fluid. These transformers were produced at the Chyrchyksk Transformer Plant (Chyrchyk, Uzbekistan) and the JSC "Uralelektrotyazhmash".

Types of PCB-containing electrical capacitors used in Ukraine varies a lot. As dielectric fluid they contain trichlorobiphenyl, sovol (pentachlorobiphenyl) and its mixture with various additives (e.g. nitrosovol).

The main producers of capacitors with PCBs include Ust-Kamenogorsk Condenser Plant (Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan), Pilot Plant "capacitor" (Serpuhov, Russia) and two factories in Kamairi (Leninakan), Armenia.

Dielectrical fluids for capacitors were produced by the Soviet enterprises now located on the territory of the Russian Federation. These dielectric fluids were mostly produced under three brand names: "trichlorbiphenyl (TCB) ", "sovol" and "sovtol".

PCBs have an advantage over other oils because of their non-flammability and non-explosivity.  Due to these qualities they are widely used in production that has to deal with high temperatures, for example metallurgy.

 

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the National Implementation Plan (NIP) for the Stockholm Convention (SC) with the order № 589-p of 25.07.2012 aimed at “development of the national legal framework with a view to establishing, implementing, updating and maintaining the register of enterprises that own PCB-containing equipment as well as storages of PCB-containing equipment and wastes”. 

The existing system of records keeping in the field of ecology must be supplemented by a relevant "Register of operating or stored PCB-containing equipment ". The register should also include information about PCB-containing waste production and ways of its further disposal.

Registers of facilities that work in the field of PCB management should be developed based on the preliminary information. In addition, these registers along with the registers of facilities for waste production and disposal will provide necessary information for maintaining a National PCB register. The project database should also register so-called dispersed PCBs.

The Ministry of Ecology has already elaborated a concept for the State informational and analytical system of waste management. In 2011, there was announced a call for tender for its implementation, according to which the National PCB Register would become one of 15 subsystems of the State system. Subsystems include registers of waste production and disposal facilities and keep records of issued permits and licenses, etc. Data exchange between the subsystems will enable tracking the entire "life cycle" of PCBs and take optimal managerial decisions.

 

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