All six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine are still disconnected from Ukraine’s electricity grid, state nuclear company Energoatom said, a day after nearby fires allegedly caused by shelling caused the plant to go offline.
However, the company said there were currently no issues with the plant’s machinery or its safety systems. Energoatom said electricity for the plant’s own needs was currently being supplied through a power line from Ukraine’s electricity system, and that work was ongoing to restore grid connection to the plant’s two functioning reactors.
In a speech late on Thursday, Ukraine’s president blamed Russian shelling for the outage, and accused Moscow of “putting Ukraine and all Europeans… one step away from a radiation disaster.” Russian-installed officials in Zaporizhzhia region blamed the fire and subsequent outage on Ukraine’s armed forces.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, supplied around 20% of Ukraine’s electricity before Moscow’s invasion on Feb 24. Russian forces captured the plant in early March, although Ukrainian engineers from Energoatom still run its daily operations.
Over the past two weeks, the territory of the plant has been repeatedly hit by shelling, with Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for the attacks. Western leaders have previously demanded that Russia hands the plant back to Ukraine, while the UN chief has called for it to be “demilitarised”. The IAEA has declared its intention to send a mission to inspect the power station.
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