Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant — the largest in Europe — has lost all external power for the second time in five days, in what the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog called a “deeply worrying development.”

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi issued the warning Wednesday, saying that the agency’s monitors at the site reported the interruption in external power, which is needed to maintain key safety systems. He said that backup diesel generators were keeping nuclear safety and security equipment operational.

“This repeated loss of #ZNPP’s off-site power is a deeply worrying development and it underlines the urgent need for a nuclear safety & security protection zone around the site,” Grossi tweeted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi during their meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi during their meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
AP
On Wednesday, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine lost all external power for the second time in five days, Grossi said.
On Wednesday, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine lost all external power for the second time in five days, Grossi said.
REUTERS

Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom said on the Telegram social media platform that a Russian missile attack on the substation “Dniprovska” in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region to the north was damaged, leading to the shutdown of a vital communication line to the plant — prompting the diesel generators to turn on automatically.

Last month, Energoatom chief Petro Kotin said that in general, the Zaporizhzhia plant had enough fuel to run the diesel generators for just 10 days. He said those generators were “the station’s last defense before a radiation accident.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) speaking with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi (C - R) in Kyiv last week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) speaking with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi (C – R) in Kyiv last week.
Ukrainian presidential press-ser

The IAEA has been pushing for a demilitarized security zone around the plant which remains close to the frontline between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russian-installed leader of the region, said on Wednesday that a safety zone is not possible while the front line is just 62 miles (100 km) away.

“I can tell you that negotiating while the front line is 100 kilometres away from the station … I think that’s extremely unsafe,” Yevgeny Balitsky told state television.

He also warned that it is not possible to shut down the plant, despite fears shelling could further compromise its safety.

“It’s not a toy, you can’t just turn it on and off like a switch. There’s overclocking, there’s cooling and so-forth,” Balitsky said.

During a meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told IAEA’s Grossi that the situation at Zaporizhzhia was “of concern,” and that his government was open to dialogue and would discuss “all issues” concerning the plant’s operations.

Putin also said there had been “excessive, dangerous politicization” of everything to do with nuclear activity.

A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine.
A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine.

Overview of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and fires, in Enerhodar, Ukraine, in August.

A Russian military convoy is seen on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia region, in territory under Russian military control.

A rocket fragment after shelling is seen near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in August.
A rocket fragment after shelling is seen near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in August.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of shelling the plant. Grossi led an IAEA mission to it in August.

With Post wires



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