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Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant fully shut down

Russian troops stand near the Zaporizhzhia NPP
Russian soldier stands near the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Illustrative photo: Energoatom
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant fully shut down

PoThe Zaporizhzhia NPP, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been fully stopped, Ukraine’s state nuclear agency Energoatom reported.

Its last working power Unit 6 was disconnected from the power grid at 3:41 AM on 11 September. Preparations are underway for its cooling and transfer to a cold state.

Enerhoatom informed that the three days, Unit 6 had worked in an island mode, feeding only ZNPP’s own needs, since all communication lines of Zaporizhzhia NPP with the power system of Ukraine were damaged due to Russian shelling.

Last night, one of the power lines was repaired, enabling the ZNPP to be supplied with power from Ukraine, and a decision was made to shut down Unit 6 and transfer it to the safest state — cold shutdown.

In case of repeated damage of power lines connecting the plant with Ukraine’s grid, the ZNPP’s needs will be supplied by diesel generators, whose service is limited by volumes of available diesel fuel. Energoatom informed it is taking all possible measures to organize the supply of additional diesel fuel to the plant.

In order for the power plant to resume work, a demilitarized zone must be created around the plant so Russia stops shelling the power lines connecting the ZNPP with the Ukrainian grid, Energoatom said.

When a nuclear power reactor at the Zaporizhzhia NPP is shut down, it needs to consume energy in order to power the water pumps that cool down the still-hot fuel. If the cooling system does not work, the radioactive fuel can overheat, leading to a catastrophe of the Fukushima-type. Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia’s goal for the power plant is to reroute it to the Russian grid to power occupied Crimea. In losing the plant, Ukraine loses a major power and income source amid a war and difficult winter. Read more in our article What’s the worst that can happen at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant? Four scenarios.

What’s the worst that can happen at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant? Four scenarios

The Zaporizhzhia NPP is under Russian occupation, but had been working until now. Ukraine accuses Russia of using the nuclear power plant as a shield, locating its troops and equipment inside its territory, and of shelling the plant.

Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly called on Russia to withdraw from the plant and create a demilitarized zone around it, proposals that Russia rejected. Recently, a mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the plant, producing a report testifying to Russia locating its military equipment at the station. IAEA head Rafael Grossi had called to establish a demilitarized zone, as well.

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