The final working reactor of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disconnected from the power grid on Monday, due to Russian shelling which damaged and disrupted the country’s power lines.
“As a result of a fire caused by shelling, the last working transmission line was disconnected,” announced Ukraine’s nuclear company, Energoatom. The 330 kilovolts (kV) ZTPP – Ferosplavna power transmission line was the last line linking the nuclear power plant to the power system of Ukraine. As a result, power unit number 6, currently powering the nuclear power plant’s in-house needs, was unloaded and disconnected from the grid, informed the company.
Due to ongoing hostilities, Ukraine is unable to attempt any repairs to the power lines.
“Any repairs of the power lines are currently impossible- fighting is ongoing around the station,” wrote Ukraine’s Energy Minister, German Galushchenko on Facebook.
The Ukrainian Energy Minister also noted that the latest shelling had intensified shortly after most of the UN inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency left the site earlier on Monday.
As it currently stands, the plant’s reactors five and six continue to operate however they are disconnected from the power grid. They have faced repeated disconnections due to shelling over the last fortnight.
Separately, Energoatom has denied claims spread by unofficial reports that it allegedly lost control over radiation levels at the power plant.
“In response to messages on some Telegram channels regarding Energoatom’s loss of control over radiation levels at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, we inform you that this information is not true,” the company said in an official Telegram.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the ten largest in the world. Russia invaded Ukraine in February, captured the plant located in the Southeastern part of the country in March and has controlled it since. The plant continues to be operated by Ukrainian staff, under Russian control.
In late August, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky said the world “narrowly escaped a radiation disaster” after electricity to the power plant had been cut for hours due to Russian shelling in the area. The potential disaster was avoided by triggering emergency protection which successfully activated backup diesel generators to provide energy to the plant and support it after the shutdown.