Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant loses external power source
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, has lost its last remaining external power source as a result of renewed shelling and is now relying on emergency diesel generators, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Saturday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the plant’s link to a 750-kilovolt line was cut at around 1 a.m. Saturday. The agency cited official information from Ukraine and reports from IAEA experts at site, which is currently held by Russian forces.
All six reactors at this plant have been shut down, but they still require electricity to cool and perform other safety functions. Plant engineers have begun work to repair the damaged power line and the plant’s generators — not all of which are currently being used — each have sufficient fuel for at least 10 days, the IAEA said.
” The resumption shelling, which hits the plant’s sole source for external power, was incredibly irresponsible,” Rafael Grossi, Director General of IAEA, stated in a statement.
Grossi visited Kyiv on Thursday. He stated that he would soon travel to Russia and then to Ukraine to further his efforts to establish a “nuclear security and protection zone” around the plant. This is something he has been advocating for for several weeks.
” This is an urgent and absolute imperative,” he stated. The IAEA did not assign blame for the shelling.
Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin has annexed in violation of international laws. The nuclear plant was under Russian control for several months, but the city with the same name is still under Ukrainian control.
Putin signed a decree Wednesday declaring that Russia was taking over the plant. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called it a crime and declared that Putin’s decree was “null-and-void”. Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear operator state, stated that it would continue to operate this plant.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.