The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has shut down the last reactor

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid, allowing engineers to shut down its last operational reactor to avoid a radiation catastrophe while fighting rages in the region.

The six-reactor plant at Zaporizhia lost its external power source a week ago after all power lines were cut as a result of shelling. It operated in “island mode” for several days, generating power for essential cooling systems from its only remaining operational reactor.

Nuclear operator Energoatom said one of those power lines was restored “to its operational capacity” late Saturday, making it possible for the plant’s safety and other systems to run on electricity from Ukraine’s power grid.

“Therefore, it was decided to shut down Power Plant No. 6 and transition it to the safest condition – cold shutdown,” the company said in a statement.

nuclear power plant.
Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling near and around the plant.
AFP via Getty Images

Energoatom said the risk remained high that the external power supply would be cut again, in which case the plant would have to start backup diesel generators to keep the reactors cool and prevent a meltdown. The company chief told The Associated Press on Thursday that the plant has only had diesel fuel for 10 days.

The power plant, one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world, has been occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of the war. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the power plant, which damaged the power lines connecting it to the grid.

Energoatom renewed its appeal to the Russian armed forces to withdraw from the Zaporizhia plant and allow the creation of a “demilitarized zone” around it.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear regulator, which employs two experts at the facility, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Its director has called for a security zone around the plant to avert disaster. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has shut down the last reactor


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