Power has been "restored" at Ukraine's Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, occupied by Moscow troops and cut off from the grid earlier Thursday after a Russian strike, Ukraine's power utility said. "Ukrenergo specialists have restored the power supply to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, interrupted by today's missile strikes," Ukrenergo said in a statement posted on Telegram.
Occupied by the Russian army in southern Ukraine, the plant was cut off from the Ukrainian electricity grid after a Russian strike, the Ukrainian nuclear operator said on Thursday, warning of the risk of an accident. "The last line of communication between the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and the Ukrainian power grid has been cut due to Russian rocket attacks," he said in an Energatom statement.
Russia committed a "serious breach of nuclear security" on Thursday by shutting down the network of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia following a strike, denounced the head of European diplomacy. The power outage, restored at midday on Thursday, necessitated the use of emergency diesel generators to cool the plant, "which has greatly increased the risk of a nuclear accident in recent years. hours," lamented Josep Borell on the sidelines of a European meeting in Stockholm.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, had already sounded the alarm once again on Thursday morning. "Every time, we play with fire and if we allow this situation to continue, one day our luck will change," he warned Thursday before the Board of Governors of the UN body in Vienna, calling on "everyone to pledge to protect the security" of the site, via the creation of a special zone.
France reacted, citing "an unacceptable risk to nuclear security and safety". Anne-Claire Legendre, spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also said: "France has taken note with concern of the information relating to a new disconnection of the Zaporizhia power plant. »
France "will continue to support the action of the IAEA in favor of nuclear safety and security in Ukraine and, in particular, the efforts of its Director General with a view to establishing a protection zone around the central". Anne-Claire Legendre also reiterated that the "war crimes" committed by Russia in Ukraine "cannot go unpunished".
Faced with the power cut, the 20 emergency generators had been activated, with emergency stocks that would have allowed them to operate for a fortnight for a maximum lifespan of 15 days. "They have enough fuel for ten days. The countdown has begun,” worried Energatom. "If it is not possible to renew the external power supply of the plant, an accident with radioactive consequences for the whole world could take place", had warned the operator.
The Russian army occupied this huge nuclear complex in southern Ukraine on March 4, 2022, nine days after the start of its invasion. The plant, which previously produced 20% of Ukraine's electricity, continued to operate for the first months of the invasion, despite periods of bombardment, before being shut down in September. Since then, none of its six Soviet-era VVER-1000 reactors has generated power, but the facility remains connected to the Ukrainian energy system and consumes electricity produced by it for its own needs.
Previously, the Ukrainian nuclear operator had warned that the shutdown of the plant would lead to "a gradual degradation of all its systems and equipment". Energatom was also concerned about a "risk of a nuclear incident" if the last power line connecting the plant to Ukraine's energy system breaks.
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