The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, under the control of the Russian army and targeted by several bombings, is “completely disconnected” from the network, after damage to the communication lines, the Ukrainian operator Energoatom announced on Thursday, informs AFP and Reuters.
The last two reactors in operation of the Zaporozhye plant were shut down after nearby fires damaged the power lines, Energoatom states.
The fires broke out in the ash pits of a coal-fired power plant near the plant and damaged power lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian power grid.
The electricity supply of the nuclear power plant is provided by the respective thermal power plant. ‘The two reactors of the plant in operation were disconnected from the network. As a result, the actions of the aggressors caused a total disconnection of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant from the power grid, for the first time in its history,’ stated the Energoatom state group on Telegram.
The security systems of the power plant are working normally and they are currently trying to reconnect one of the reactors to the electrical grid, the Ukrainian company also states.
Kiev and Moscow have been accusing each other of bombing this plant for three weeks, raising fears of a possible new Chernobyl. The Zaporozhye plant is under the control of Russian troops, but is operated by Ukrainian personnel.
The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant was ‘completely disconnected’ from the electricity grid
The decision comes after Russia reportedly planned to disconnect Europe’s largest nuclear power plant from Ukraine’s power grid, in a move that would risk a catastrophic failure of the cooling system, the head of Kyiv’s atomic power company warned.
Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power company Energoatom, said he had seen detailed plans by Russian engineers to disconnect the Zaporozhye power plant from the Ukrainian power grid and connect it instead to the Russian grid should fighting break out the remaining power lines.
Kotin fears that Vladimir Putin’s men are now targeting the plant’s power lines connecting it to the Ukrainian grid to make this scenario a reality, The Guardian reports.
If the Russian plan is implemented, it would lead to a catastrophic failure of the cooling systems
External energy is essential not only to cool the two reactors still in operation at Zaporozhye, but also the spent radioactive fuel stored in special facilities on the premises.
The dire warning comes as Ukrainian staff at the nuclear plant, which has been occupied by Russian troops since March, said they were being tortured by FSB agents to prevent them from telling UN security inspectors about the risks at the site.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected to have access to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in the coming days.
But workers at the occupied plant have said they fear Russia is preparing false-flag attacks for when IAEA inspectors arrive, which they will blame on Ukraine.
Continued fighting near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has heightened fears of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe that could affect hundreds of thousands of people.
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