Europe’s largest nuclear power plant loses its remaining power source to bombing, says UN

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Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has lost its last external power source to renewed bombardment and now relies on backup diesel generators, the nuclear watchdog said on Saturday. of ONU.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the plant’s link to a 750-kilovolt line was cut around 1 a.m. Saturday. He cited official information from Ukraine as well as IAEA expert reports on the site, which is held by Russian forces.

The plant’s six reactors are shut down, but they still need electricity for cooling and other safety functions. Plant engineers have started work to repair the damaged power line and the plant’s generators – not all of which are currently in use – each have enough fuel for at least 10 days, the IAEA said.

“The resumption of bombing, hitting the plant’s only external power source, is extremely irresponsible,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.

Grossi traveled to Kyiv on Thursday. He said he would soon travel to Russia, then make another trip to Ukraine, to continue his efforts to establish a “nuclear protection and safety zone” around the plant, which he has been advocating for weeks. . “It is an absolute and urgent imperative,” he said.

The IAEA did not blame the bombing.

Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed in violation of international law. While the nuclear power plant has been under Russian control for months, the town of the same name remains under Ukrainian control.

Putin on Wednesday signed a decree declaring Russia taking control of the plant. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called it a criminal act and said it considered Putin’s decree “null and void”. Ukraine’s state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said it would continue to operate the plant.

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