Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The vulnerable nuclear power plant has finally been disconnected from the grid

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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Ukraine’s state operator Energoatom and the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the last operating reactor at Ukraine’s nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia (south), the largest in Europe and occupied by Russian forces, was cut off from the grid on Monday.

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Since the power plant was disconnected from the external grid on Friday evening, “a backup line has been used to deliver electricity to the Ukrainian grid,” states the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has experts on site.

France Press agency

However, this line, which is connected to an adjacent thermal power plant, was “deliberately disconnected in order to put out a fire,” she explained in a press release. But it is “not damaged” and should be reconnected ASAP.

According to the Ukrainian operator, the fire “broke out due to the bombing.”

Reactor No. 6, the only one of the station’s six still operating units, continues to “produce the electricity needed to cool” nuclear fuel and secure the site, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

According to the same source, “it will be connected to the network again when the helpline is reactivated.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced, on Saturday, the closure of Unit No. 5 due to the damage following the strikes on the last power line still in operation. The other three were previously lost during the conflict.

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The other four reactors in Zaporizhia have been closed for weeks.

This latest incident comes a few days after an International Atomic Energy Agency delegation visited the plant on Friday, which has been at the center of tensions between Kyiv and Moscow for months and whose site has been bombed several times, raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

For several weeks, the Russians and the Ukrainians accused each other of this bombing.

France Press agency

Led by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, most of the team left the factory on the same day. Of the six experts who remained at the site, four left Monday morning while another two should be there permanently.

Mr Grossi will report on the situation in Zaporizhia on Tuesday, before submitting a report to the United Nations Security Council.

With six reactors with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each, this plant fell into the hands of Russian forces in March, shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

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