Zaporiyia nuclear power plant is again disconnected from the power grid due to shelling

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IAEA describes resumption of hostilities as “wildly irresponsible” and will continue to negotiate a “safe zone”

Ukraine, Russia, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Saturday that the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant has again been disconnected from the power grid following recent overnight shelling for which the two countries have again blamed each other.

Ukrainian energy operator Energoatom confirmed early Saturday that “the last line of communication with the power system was disconnected at 00.59 (local time)” and that the plant is now running only on diesel generators.

The Russian administrator of Zapioriyia, Vladimir Rogov, has also confirmed the disconnection of the power plant “as a result of shelling by Ukrainian troops.”

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The Ukrainian government estimates that the power plant will only be able to operate in this way for ten days. “It is necessary to repair and restore the operation of ZNPP’s communication lines with the power system,” according to Energoatom’s statement on its Facebook page.

The power plant, the largest in Europe and right now under Russian military control, was last disconnected from the power grid on September 5.

Considered one of the major strategic points of the war, Russia and Ukraine have been accusing each other practically since the beginning of the conflict of carrying out bombardments that constantly hamper the operation of the facility.

The IAEA has also confirmed the shutdown of the plant after the attacks. The plant “has lost its last remaining external power source due to the resumption of shelling and is now dependent on generators,” the agency’s director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said in a statement.

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Once the situation stabilized, ten of the generators were shut down, leaving six to provide the reactors with the necessary electricity. The IAEA recalls that all six reactors are cold shutdown but require electricity for vital nuclear safety and security functions.

For the time being, all safety systems at the plant continue to receive power and are operating normally, IAEA experts were told by senior Ukrainian operational staff on site.

However, Grossi considers the resumption of shelling “tremendously irresponsible” and has announced his intention to travel soon to Russia and Ukraine to “agree on a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant” as “an absolute and urgent imperative.”

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