Ukraine nuclear plant reconnected to grid after line was cut

Ukraine’s nuclear power plant has reconnected to the grid after a power outage

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the 750-kilovolt line was reconnected to the plant on Sunday evening after repairs by Ukrainian engineers.

External power lines to Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest – were repaired on Sunday after shelling knocked the facility off the grid and forced it to resort to emergency diesel generators, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the 750-kilovolt line was reconnected to the plant on Sunday evening after repairs by Ukrainian engineers. That allowed the plant to begin shutting down generators that had kicked in to power it after the line — its last connection to the grid — was cut early Saturday morning.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Twitter that the reconnection was “temporary relief in an increasingly unsustainable situation”.

The factory has been held by Russian forces for months, but is staffed by Ukrainian workers. All six reactors at the site are shut down but still require electricity for cooling and other safety functions.

Grossi spent weeks pushing for the creation of a “nuclear safety and security zone” around the plant. He says he will go to Russia and then see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an attempt to implement the plan.

Grossi condemned the attacks “in areas that could affect the safety and security” of the plant, including nearby Enerhodar and the capital of the Ukrainian-controlled Zaporozhye province.

“Almost every day now there is shelling in the area where the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is located and where the plant workers and their families live,” he said. “The shelling must stop immediately. It is already having an impact on nuclear safety and the safety situation at the power plant.”

Ukrainian operations personnel told IAEA experts that a convoy of five trucks carrying “necessary additional diesel supplies” is currently in the city of Zaporizhia and plans to cross the front line on Monday to reach the plant, the agency said. There are currently about 10 days worth of diesel on site. Separately, a shipment of diesel from Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom arrived at Enerhodar, the IAEA added.

Zaporozhye is one of four regions in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed in violation of international law.

On Wednesday, Putin signed a decree declaring that Russia was taking over the nuclear power plant. Ukraine’s foreign ministry called it a criminal act and said it considered Putin’s decree “invalid”.

Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom said it would continue to operate the plant.

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