The last reactor in operation at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe and occupied by Russian forces, was disconnected from the network on Monday. For several weeks, Russians and Ukrainians have accused each other of these bombardments. The IAEA will report on the situation in Zaporizhia on Tuesday.
The last reactor in operation at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia (south), the largest in Europe and occupied by Russian forces, was disconnected from the network on Monday (September 5th), indicated the Ukrainian state operator Energoatom and the IAEA.
Since the disconnection of the power plant from the external network on Friday evening, “a backup line was used to deliver electricity to the Ukrainian network”, recalls the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has experts on site. . However, this line, connected to a neighboring thermal power station, “was deliberately disconnected in order to extinguish a fire”, she explains in a press release. But “it was not damaged”, and it should be reconnected as soon as possible.
According to the Ukrainian operator, the fire “started because of the bombardments”. Reactor number 6, the only one still operating among the six units of this plant, continues however “to produce the electricity necessary for the cooling” of the nuclear fuel and the security of the site, specifies the IAEA. “He will be connected to the network again when the help line is reactivated”, according to the same source.
On Saturday, the IAEA announced the shutdown of unit number 5 due to damage following strikes on the last power line still in operation. The other three were lost previously during the conflict. The other four reactors in Zaporijjia have been shut down for weeks.
This latest incident comes a few days after a visit on Friday by an IAEA delegation to the plant, which has been at the heart 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, Russians and Ukrainians have accused each other of these bombardments. “Once again – this is the second time – because of Russian provocations, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been on the brink of a radiological disaster”, denounced the Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Led by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, most of the team left the plant the same day. Of the six experts who remained on site, four left on Monday morning while two others should be present there permanently.
Rafael Grossi will report on the situation in Zaporijjia on Tuesday, before reporting 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 troops in March, shortly after the launch of the invasion of Ukraine.