In the IAEA’s latest Ukraine Update on 9 October director general Rafael Grossi reported that Ukrainian engineers have restored external power to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) a day after the facility lost the connection to its last remaining operating power line due to shelling.
Following repair work, the 750 kV line has been reconnected to the power plant, enabling it to start switching off the emergency diesel generators that had provided it with back-up electricity since the connection was cut early on 8 October.
The plant’s six reactors are in cold shutdown but still require power for cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions. Rafael Grossi, who has been receiving reports from the team of IAEA nuclear safety, security and safeguards experts present at the plant site, said it was a much-needed development but that the power situation at the ZNPP “remained fragile”.
The director general has condemned military attacks in areas that could affect the safety and security of ZNPP, including in the cities of Enerhodar and Zaporizhzhya. “Almost every day now, there is shelling in the region where the Zaporizhzhya … plant is located and where the plant workers and their families live. The shelling must stop, immediately. It is already having an impact on the nuclear safety and security situation at the plant,” he said.
In recent days, there has been frequent shelling in an industrial area between the ZNPP and Enerhodar. There have also been missile strikes further away, including one on 9 October in the city of Zaporizhzhya.
The director general has proposed the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the ZNPP, and is engaging in high-level talks with Ukraine and the Russian Federation aimed at agreeing and implementing such a zone as soon as possible.