Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, was knocked off the electricity grid on Monday, its last transmission line disconnected because of a fire caused by shelling, the facility’s operator and the UN atomic watchdog said, according to The Associated Press.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was informed Monday by Ukrainian authorities that the reserve line “was deliberately disconnected in order to extinguish a fire.”
“The line itself is not damaged, and it will be reconnected once the fire is extinguished,” the IAEA said.
- In the meantime, the plant’s only remaining operational reactor would “generate the power the plant needs for its safety and other functions,” the agency said.
The Zaporizhzhia complex has been occupied by Russian forces and operated by Ukrainian workers since the early days of the six-month-old war.
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the nuclear installation, sparking fears of a nuclear accident.
- The plant was recently severed from Ukraine’s power network for the first time in its four-decade history due to what Energoatom said were “actions of the invaders”. The plant came back online the next day.
On Saturday, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said Zaporizhzhia was disconnected from its last external power line but was still able to run electricity through a reserve line amid sustained shelling in the area.
The plant’s operator, Energoatom, said Monday that Russian forces have kept up “intensive shelling” around Zaporizhzhia in recent days despite the warnings.
- The Russian military accused Ukrainian forces of staging “provocations” there, including sending a drone, which was intercepted, and shelling the adjacent city of Enerhodar.
IAEA inspectors arrived for a tour at the plant last week. The team was brought in after months of worry that the plant could turn into a nuclear disaster.
The IAEA team’s visit was made possible after Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed for the team of independent inspectors to travel to Zaporizhzhia via Ukraine, in an apparent resolution of a dispute over whether inspectors should travel to the plant via Ukraine or Russia.
Source: Arutz Sheva