(Vienna) The nuclear safety of the Ukrainian power plant in Zaporizhia (southeast) is in a “precarious state”, warned on Wednesday the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi , in a press release.

According to the organization, the “last emergency power line” of the plant, damaged since March 1, remains “disconnected and under repair”. However, it allows it as a last resort to ensure nuclear safety and security, in particular by cooling its reactors.

The plant has relied for three weeks on electricity supplied by a single main external 750 kV line, and “any damage (to this line) will result in the total loss of all offsite power to the plant”.

“Nuclear safety within the (plant) remains in a precarious state,” Grossi said. “I once again call on all parties to commit to ensuring nuclear safety and protecting the security of the plant. »

On March 9, the gigantic power station, occupied by the Russian army, was cut off from the Ukrainian electricity network for 11 hours after a Russian strike.

Emergency diesel generators had been switched on to ensure a minimum supply of safety systems, according to Energoatom, which had warned of the risk of a nuclear accident.

“We’re playing with fire,” warned Mr. Grossi.

European Union High Representative Josep Borell concurred, saying, “This is a serious breach of nuclear security, caused by Russia… Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.” And Russia endangers the security of the entire European continent, Russia included.”

Without the electricity produced by these generators, the overheating of reactor fuel can quickly cause a nuclear accident, in a scenario identical to that of Fukushima in Japan in 2011.