Ukrainian President Volodymyr has called for increased international pressure on Russia to clear the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. He referred to the emergency shutdown of two reactors on Thursday due to two power failures. The power plant was thus “completely” decoupled from the Ukrainian power grid, which was a one-time event.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international organizations would have to act much faster than before, said Zelenskyj in his video address in Kyiv in the evening. “Every minute that the Russian military stays at the nuclear power plant means the risk of a global radiation catastrophe.”
The IAEA in Vienna, citing information from Kiev, announced that the safety system had shut down two running reactors. The nuclear power plant was further supplied via the power line of a nearby thermal power plant.
It is now reconnected to the Ukrainian power grid. According to Ukrainian information, all six reactors are currently idle, it said. The Russian occupation administration, on the other hand, had announced that a reactor block had been restarted.
IAEA Director Rafael Grossi confirmed his willingness to go to Zaporizhia with experts within a few days. The situation in and at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe has been opaque for weeks. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling the nuclear power plant.
The UK Ministry of Defense released satellite photos purportedly showing Russian military trucks next to a reactor. Last week, unverified video also showed military vehicles in one of the large machine shops.
The Ukrainian utility Energoatom announced on Thursday that fire had broken out in the ash pits of a nearby coal-fired power plant. These would have damaged the power lines to the nuclear power plant.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyj commented on the process in his nightly speech: “The emergency protection worked,” he said. He accused the Russian side of damaging Ukrainian power lines.
The Russian occupiers, on the other hand, announced that one of the two power plant blocks currently in operation was already back on the grid. The two blocks only needed to be shut down temporarily after a fire broke out due to Ukrainian shelling, the region’s occupation chief, Yevgeny Balitsky, wrote on Telegram. The information provided by both sides was initially not independently verifiable.
Balizki also explained that the supply of people in the surrounding regions, who have meanwhile been affected by a massive power outage, will be guaranteed again shortly. The Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, who had fled, Dmytro Orlov, had previously reported that the power supply to the small town where the nuclear power plant is located was being gradually restored.
According to experts, it is unclear who would be entrusted with dealing with a nuclear disaster. “We don’t know what happens in a war situation when we have a nuclear emergency,” said MIT’s Kate Brown. During the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, the Soviet Union was able to bring tens of thousands of people, equipment and emergency vehicles to the scene. “Who would now take responsibility for this mission?”