Off-site power supply of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant destroyed | Ukraine

A vital offsite power supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been destroyed by bombardment and a reliable supply is unlikely to be restored, the UN nuclear watchdog has said.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the shelling had destroyed the switchyard of a nearby thermal power plant.

The plant has supplied the nuclear facility whenever its normal supply lines have been cut for the past three weeks. The thermal plant also supplied the surrounding area, which was plunged into darkness.

Local Ukrainian officials said work was underway to restore the connection, which has been cut several times this week.

Grossi, who said he was briefed on the situation by IAEA representatives at the plant, called for an “immediate halt to all bombardments throughout the area”. “It’s an unsustainable situation and one that is becoming more and more precarious,” he said, without blaming the bombings.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of bombing near Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine and within the perimeter of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has six reactors.

The thermal supply has been cut and restored several times this week and Enerhodar, the neighboring town, has suffered several complete blackouts.

When thermal power was cut off, the plant relied on its only remaining operating reactor for energy for cooling and other safety functions. This method is designed to provide power only for a few hours at a time. Diesel generators are used as a last resort. The constant destruction of the thermal energy supply has led Ukraine to consider shutting down the remaining operating reactor, Grossi said. Ukraine “is no longer [has] confidence in restoring power offsite,” he said.

Grossi said that if Ukraine decided not to restore offsite supply, the entire power plant would depend on emergency diesel generators to supply nuclear safety and security functions.

“As a result, the operator could not restart the reactors unless offsite power was reliably restored,” he said.

Enerhodar mayor-in-exile Dmytro Orlov said on Friday work was underway to repair the switchyard and restore power to the city’s thermal power plant, most of which was still suffering from power failure. ‘electricity.

The development came as diplomats from Canada and Poland prepare to submit a draft resolution to be voted on by the IAEA board of governors, according to Reuters. The IAEA acts as an international nuclear watchdog under the aegis of the United Nations.

The draft text, seen by Reuters, implores Russia to vacate the power plant and hand over control of the plant to competent authorities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. The text should be adopted, according to diplomats quoted by Reuters.

Alan A. Seibert