Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear energy company, reported that the Russian shelling on the morning of May 22 has caused the disruption of the last remaining external power line to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Russian-occupied territory.
As a result, the nuclear plant, situated near Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, relies on backup diesel generators. However, these generators can only sustain the power supply for a maximum of 10 days, as stated by Energoatom. The availability of external power is crucial for the proper functioning of the cooling pumps for nuclear fuel in the holding pools and reactors.
Energoatom expressed concerns about the inability to restore the external power supply, warning of the potential for a radiation-related incident that could have consequences for the entire world.
Responding to Reuters, Energoatom confirmed that this is the seventh blackout experienced since the beginning of the Russian occupation. The company also expressed apprehension about the management capabilities of the Russian forces, citing potential “irreparable” damage due to their lack of training.
According to Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Yurii Malashko, the issues with electricity supply in the city of Zaporizhzhia are separate from the recent shelling incident.
Rafael Grossi, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), expressed grave concerns about the vulnerable nuclear safety situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant. In a Twitter post, he emphasized the urgency of taking action to protect the plant, stating that the current situation cannot be allowed to persist.
Since March 4, 2022, Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power station, as well as the city of Enerhodar.