The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said external power had been restored to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on Sunday night after repeated shelling caused disruptions. power outage lasted almost two days.
Grossi, the executive director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is planning to visit Russia earlier this week to negotiate the establishment of a safe zone around the plant in southern Ukraine, an objective Target has received new urgency after a series of attacks in the region last week. Mr. Grossi was in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on Thursday to begin the negotiations.
Early on Saturday, Russian shelling left the plant inaccessible to external power, forcing it to rely on diesel generators to power safety equipment used to power the plant. cool its reactor, according to Ukrainian officials. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed Ukrainian forces for the shelling, saying in a statement on Telegram that Ukrainian missiles hit near the industrial park and knocked out the power supply.
Mr. Grossi said in the statement that there was shelling “almost daily” around the plant, including “where factory workers and their families live.”
The plant has had its external power cut off at least twice before, and the availability of fuel to power emergency generators has long been a concern. Even with all the so-called offline reactors decommissioned, the essential equipment dedicated to cooling spent fuel rods still requires a constant source of power.
After power was restored on Sunday, Mr. Grossi said in a Twitter posted that it was a “temporary relief in a situation that remained unresolvable.”
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, has been the focus of active fighting since Russian forces seized it in March, raising fears of a potential nuclear accident. treasure. Russian forces control the plant, but it is still being run by Ukrainian operators.
Last week, the Kremlin announced that it would take over operational control of the facility, which has left many more uncertain. On Thursday, the IAEA said it does not recognize Russia’s claims to the plant.