On 29 December Russia launched what appeared to be one of its biggest strikes to date on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, pummeling Kyiv and other cities and towns. Several regions reported power outages. The attacks combined a swarm of drones and a volley of cruise missiles.
The strikes were a continuation of three-month infrastructure attack campaign, which military analysts say is an effort to demoralise the population by plunging the country into freezing temperatures and long periods of without heat and light. Lviv’s mayor said that electricity had been lost for 90 % of the city, and Kyiv’s mayor reported that 40 % of the capital was without electricity.
IAEA Update 138
A 330 kV back-up power line to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (ZNPP) was disconnected on 29 December owing to damage caused by shelling, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in his latest Update on 30 December.
The ZNPP, whose six reactors are all in shutdown, continues to receive the off-site electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions from the plant’s only remaining operational 750 kV external power line, one of four such lines before the current conflict in Ukraine.
The team of IAEA experts present at ZNPP reported that its connection to the 330 kV Ferosplavna 1 back-up line was lost as a result of damage on the other side of the Dnipro River, some distance away from the plant itself. Work to repair the line is under way.
The Ferosplavna 1 line was the ZNPP’s last functioning back-up power line and it is vital that it is restored as soon as possible, director general Grossi said, reiterating that all military action potentially threatening the nuclear safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants must stop immediately. He is continuing his consultations with Ukraine and Russia aimed at agreeing and implementing a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the ZNPP as soon as possible.
Ukraine has informed the IAEA that the country’s three other NPPs – located in Ukrainian-controlled territory, unlike the ZNPP – were in the process of restoring their electrical power production levels following a decrease in output after the 29 December missile attacks.
At ZNPP, four more mobile diesel-fuelled boilers have begun operating, bringing the total to eight out of nine delivered with power in the range of 1–6.5 MW. The nine boilers will provide about 34 MW of heating to the site and to the nearby city of Enerhodar.