The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Zaporizhzhya Nuclear power plant has been informed that several drones struck locations in the vicinity of the ZNPP site on 3 July, injuring workers and causing forest fires. These repeated drone attacks are a threat to nuclear safety and people’s lives and must stop, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said in IAEA’s latest Update, number 236, on the Ukraine situation.

IAEA experts stationed at ZNPP reported seeing thick smoke and heard explosions coming from near the plant’s 750 kV switchyard after they were told that drones had hit a forest adjacent to the site, starting fires in windy conditions. Firefighters were working to control the flames. The switchyard is located outside ZNPP site itself. For now, the IAEA experts have not reported any impact on-site.

This latest incident presents a further risk to nuclear safety as the ZNPP’s sole remaining 750 kV power line supplies the off-site electricity the plant needs to cool its six reactors in cold shutdown and for other essential nuclear safety and security functions. At present, the 750kV power line as well as a back-up 330 kV line are still available, but the situation remains precarious.

Near the town of Enerhodar three drone strikes, starting at 10:40am local time, hit one of its electrical sub-stations, injuring eight workers, one of whom required medical care, the ZNPP said. The IAEA experts were informed that the alleged impact also caused an oil leak from at least one of the two sub-station transformers, damaged the top of one of them as well as a connection line.

As a result, the affected sub-station – Raduga – is currently out of service, but Enerhodar and an adjacent industrial area are still receiving electricity. Sub-stations form vital parts of an electrical production, transmission and distribution system.

Today’s reported drone attacks came less than two weeks after Enerhodar – home to most ZNPP staff – was left without electricity for 16 hours after reported drone strikes on the Raduga and Luch sub-stations. In early April, drone strikes also hit the ZNPP site, in a violation of the five basic principles for protecting the facility established by DG Grossi at the United Nations Security Council in May 2023.