IAEA: Zaporizhia NPP again disconnected from the grid

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which was occupied by Russian troops, has again been shut down. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Saturday that the connection between the last remaining main power line of the power plant and the supply grid had been interrupted. The IAEA was informed “on site today” that the plant would continue to supply electricity via a reserve line.

“One reactor is still operating and producing electricity for both cooling and other essential safety functions of the facility and for homes, factories and others,” the IAEA statement said.

Turkey wants to play a supporting role

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has been occupied by Russia since March, and its surroundings have been repeatedly shelled in recent weeks. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the attacks. As early as August 25, the nuclear power plant was temporarily completely cut off from the power grid – for the first time in the history of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

According to the IAEA report, the nuclear power plant originally had a total of four main power lines. Three of them had been cut off “earlier during the conflict”.

The fighting surrounding the nuclear power plant is fueling fears of a nuclear catastrophe like the one in Chernobyl in 1986. On Thursday, a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The 14-strong team is to check the security of the facility. IAEA boss Rafael Grossi and some other members of the team left on Thursday, but according to Russian information, six of the international inspectors remained in the facility. Two IAEA experts should therefore remain permanently in the nuclear power plant.

The fighting continued after the arrival of the IAEA experts. The Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow on Saturday accused the Ukrainian army of wanting to recapture despite the presence of the experts. 250 soldiers and “foreign mercenaries” were involved in the operation. The Russian army claims to have repelled the attack. The Ukrainian military in turn accused Russia of carrying out attacks in the direction of Zaporizhia on Saturday night.

Turkey came up as a mediator in the dispute over the power plant on Saturday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said. Ankara could “play a supporting role in Zaporizhia’s nuclear power plant issue, as was the case with grain exports.” There was no reaction from Moscow. The UN and Turkey had mediated agreements that Ukraine could again export grain through its Black Sea ports, despite the Russian war of aggression.

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant came under Moscow control in early March immediately after the Russian invasion. Multiple shelling of the power plant site and the neighboring town increased international fears of a possible nuclear catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine blame each other. With its six blocks and a net output of 5,700 megawatts, the nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Before the Russian invasion, which started at the end of February, more than 10,000 people worked at the nuclear power plant.

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