War in Ukraine: Zaporizhia nuclear power plant again cut off from the electricity grid

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The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, located in southern Ukraine, was once again cut off from the power grid on Monday May 22, the Russian occupation administration told AFP.

The Russian military-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has once again been cut off from Ukraine’s power grid, the Russian occupation administration said on Monday (May 22), a potentially dangerous incident that has become frequent with the fighting related bombings.

“Due to the cutting of the Dnieprovskaya high-voltage line (connected to a power plant in the Dnipro region, ed.) the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has lost its external electricity supply,” the Russian administration said on Telegram.

He adds that the causes of the cut of this power line are being ascertained and specifies that the site’s emergency diesel generators have been activated to temporarily guarantee minimum operation. These generators normally have fuel to run for several days. “The level of radiation in the plant (…) is within the norm,” added the administration, linked to the Russian public group Rosatom.

Seventh cut since the beginning of the conflict

This is officially the seventh time this massive nuclear complex has been cut off from the power grid since its capture by the Russian military on March 4, 2022. The previous cut, in early March, was caused by a wave of attacks of Russian missiles, according to the Ukrainian public operator Energoatom. External power was restored after a few hours.

The plant, which previously produced 20% of Ukraine’s electricity, continued to operate during the first months of the Russian offensive despite bouts of shelling before being shut down in September.

Since then, none of its six Soviet-era VVER-1000 reactors have generated power, but the plant remains connected to Ukraine’s energy system and consumes the electricity it produces for its own needs, in particular to ensure reactor cooling.

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