Ukrainian nuclear plant loses external power access

BERLIN (HPD) — Ukraine’s nuclear plant in Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe, lost its only remaining external source of electricity as a result of recent shelling and is now relying on emergency diesel generators, the U.N. nuclear agency warned Saturday. .

The plant’s six reactors are shut down, but require electricity for cooling and other safety functions. Engineers at the plant have begun repairing the damaged power line and the plant’s generators each have enough fuel for at least 10 days, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

“The resumption of the cannonade, which hit the plant’s only source of electricity, is tremendously irresponsible,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

Grossi, who visited kyiv on Thursday, said he would travel to Russia soon, after which he would return to Ukraine to advance his attempts to establish “a nuclear security buffer zone” around the plant, something he has been calling for for weeks. .

“This is an absolute and urgent imperative,” he said. The IAEA did not mention possible culprits for the shelling.

Zaporizhia is one of four Ukrainian regions that President Vladimir Putin annexed to Russia in violation of international law. Although the nuclear plant has been under Russian control for months, the city of the same name remains under Ukrainian control.

Putin signed a decree on Wednesday declaring that Russia was taking control of the plant. Ukraine’s foreign minister called this a crime, adding that he considered Putin’s decree “invalid.” Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom said it will continue to operate the plant.

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