Ukraine war: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant relies on diesel generators after shelling cuts power lines
- The UN’s nuclear watchdog said the plant had lost its last external power source after renewed shelling and is now relying on emergency diesel generators
- All six reactors at the plant are shut but they still require electricity for cooling and other safety functions
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 UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the plant’s link to a 750-kilovolt line was cut at around 1am on Saturday. It cited official information from Ukraine as well as reports from IAEA experts at the site, which is held by Russian forces
All six reactors at the plant are shut down but they still require electricity for cooling and 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 of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible,” IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.
Grossi visited Kyiv on Thursday. He said he will soon travel to Russia, then make another trip to Ukraine, to further his effort to set up a “nuclear safety and security protection zone” around the plant, which he has advocated for weeks.
“This is an absolute and urgent imperative,” he said. The IAEA did not apportion blame for the shelling.
Putin signed a decree on Wednesday declaring that Russia was taking over the plant. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called it a criminal act and said it considered Putin’s decree “null and void”. Ukraine’s state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said it would continue to operate the plant.