The main power line supplying electricity to Ukraine’s Zaporizhia NPP (ZNPP) has been restored after a sudden cut in the connection during the weekend, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reported. Underlining the potential dangers the NPP is continuing to face, the IAEA experts present at the facility heard – for a second time in the past few days – the distinctive sound of several rockets that appeared to have been fired from close to the plant. Also today, the team heard multiple artillery rounds which also seemed to have been fired from near the ZNPP.
Director General Grossi said the apparent military action in the vicinity of the plant could heighten the nuclear safety and security risks at the site and potentially undermine the five concrete principles for the protection of the ZNPP that he presented at the United Nations Security Council in May earlier this year.
“I call on all sides to exercise utmost restraint at or near the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. No one would gain a military advantage from causing a nuclear accident during this terrible war, on the contrary,” he said. “The troubling events of recent days – with rockets launched from close to this major nuclear power plant – are further deepening our nuclear safety and security concerns.”
However, ZNPP’s single remaining 750 kilovolt (kV) power line is again able to deliver the external electricity the plant needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions. The connection was lost after a short circuit that reportedly occurred around 100 kilometres north of the site, but the power line connection was restored later the same evening.
During the time when the 750 kV line was disconnected, the ZNPP received off-site electricity from the only remaining 330 kV back-up power line. This means that there are once again two independent power lines essential for delivering external power to the plant.
“The plant’s vulnerable off-site power supplies remain one of our main concerns when it comes to nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. As we have experienced multiple times, including last winter, attacks far away from the site can cause severe disruptions in the electricity grid that also serves the Zaporizhia NPP. All military action that could endanger nuclear safety and security must be avoided,” Grossi said.