September 25, 2022

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IAEA observers report that the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is no longer connected to the power grid

IAEA observers report that the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is no longer connected to the power grid

Ukrainian engineers in the control room of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. They work there under the supervision of Russian soldiers.Reuters photo

This was reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency staff present at the station. Five of the plant’s six reactors have been shut down. The only reactor still in operation provides power to keep the plant and other essential operations cool, and can also transfer power to the grid.

Zaporizhzhya is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. In peacetime, the Ukrainian network supplies power via four main cables. Three of these cables have been unusable since the beginning of the war. The fourth main cable has been damaged many times, but it can always be repaired. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s monitors were unable to determine if contact could be restored.

Russian soldiers and Ukrainian engineers

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Zaporizhzhya is in the hands of Russia, but that Ukrainian engineers are running the plant “under very difficult conditions”. Agency employees have been working at the station since Thursday. Both Russia and Ukraine agreed to the existence of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was described by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, as “of enormous value.” According to him, the international presence will have a “significant stabilizing effect”. He hopes the belligerents will think twice before bombing the factory again.

The nuclear power plant, named after the nearby town of Zaporizhzhya, was regularly bombed with grenades. Russia and Ukraine repeatedly accuse each other of being behind the bombing. Thanks to the monitors, Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says, there is now an independent international source that can figure out what’s really going on.

Tuesday More clarity about safety

Grossi led a delegation of 14 experts to Zaporizhzhya on Thursday. Six members of the International Atomic Energy Agency were left behind at the station. Four of the six are leaving next week. The remaining two monitors will remain in the factory permanently. Grossi is due to report to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. This report should primarily answer safety questions. In particular, Grossi describes the continued bombing as an “unacceptable” risk to the nuclear power plant, which shows the numerous effects of the projectiles falling.

According to him, the power plant itself is not a great danger. It is solidly built. Grossi says combatants know the central limb and “shoot where it hurts.” They target vulnerabilities, such as the main cable and power supply to the station itself and the people who work there. There is a real danger of a nuclear catastrophe, if such bombing, for example, causes the supply of cooling water to stop.

Turkey wants to mediate

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday that Turkey can act as a mediator in the situation surrounding the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia. Turkey previously played an important role in achieving the “Grain Deal”. This will allow cargo ships carrying grain to leave Ukrainian ports under surveillance and on safe navigation routes while the war is in full swing. The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has recently come under regular fire. Moscow and Kiev blame each other for the attacks. For example, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Saturday that Ukrainian forces attempted to attack and seize the nuclear power plant late Friday night. This cannot be verified independently. (ANP)

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