The United Nations nuclear watchdog has condemned the new shelling near Ukraine’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which has just disconnected the plant from Ukraine’s power grid, according to its operator.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a news conference Saturday that the restarted shelling was “very irresponsible”.
According to Ukrainian nuclear power operator Energoatom, the last power line connecting the plant to Ukraine’s grid was damaged and disconnected on Saturday due to the attack by Russian troops. The plant now relies on diesel generators.
“It is very irresponsible to resume the shelling, hitting the plant’s only source of external power. The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant must be protected,” Grossi said on Saturday.
“All safety systems at the plant continue to be energized and functioning normally, and IAEA experts were informed by senior Ukrainian operators on site,” he added in the release.
“Even though the six reactors are in cold shutdown, they still need electricity to perform important nuclear safety and security functions. The plant’s diesel generators each have enough fuel for at least ten days. ZNPP engineers have begun repairing the damage 750 kV power lines,” the press release said.
Grossi stressed that the plant “must be protected,” adding that he would “soon go to the Russian Federation and then back to Ukraine to agree on a nuclear safety and security reserve around the plant. This is an absolute and urgent priority.”
What Russian officials say: Vladimir Rogov, a senior pro-Russian official in the Zaporozhye regional government, said the plant could be put back into operation.
“Now the nuclear power plant has switched back to emergency operating mode. The last power line connecting it to the right bank, whose territory is covered by [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s regime has been dismissed. Currently, nuclear power plants can only be powered by diesel generators, which is an unusual way,” Rogov said on Saturday on the pro-Kremlin program “Soloviev Live.”
“It is entirely possible for us to restore the nuclear power plant and bring it into operation,” he added.