Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant disconnects from power grid after nearby fires

Date:


Kyiv, Ukraine
CNN

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, owned by Russian forces, was completely disconnected from the electricity grid for the first time in its history on Thursday, the country’s nuclear operator said.

The complex was disconnected Thursday due to fires in a nearby ash pit, causing the last remaining power line connected to Ukraine’s power grid to be disconnected twice, Energoatom said in a statement.

“The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the ZNPP (Zaporizya Nuclear Power Plant) from the power grid – the first in the plant’s history,” it wrote.

Later on Thursday, the Russian-installed regional governor said that “currently power to all cities and districts of the Zaporizhzhya region has been restored” from the factory after previous disruptions.

The official, Yevhen Balytskyi, blamed the Ukrainian military action for the earlier failures. “As a result of an attack by Ukraine’s armed formations on power lines in the area of ​​the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the territory of the 750 kV overhead line safety zone caught fire. The fire was caused by a short circuit in power lines,” he said.

In a separate statement, the Ukrainian State Inspectorate of Nuclear Regulations, citing nuclear operator Energoatom, said a power line from the plant had been disconnected due to hostilities in the area.

As a result, one of the plant’s nuclear power plants was also decoupled, it said.

The complex has six reactors, but only two are currently operational.

It is unclear if there is currently an outage in the plant’s power supply. CNN has previously been told that there are 18 diesel generators at the plant as backup sources for the reactors.

The nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been under Russian control since March. Clashes around the complex have sparked widespread concern and fear of disaster.

Ukraine has accused Russian troops of using the factory as a shield, threatening a possible disaster at the factory. The Kremlin, in turn, has repeatedly accused Ukrainian troops of shelling the factory.

Calls have also grown for inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the plant. “We are very, very close to that” [an agreement with Russia]IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told France 24 on Thursday.

But Thursday’s disconnection has raised concerns that Moscow is trying to divert electricity produced in Zaporizhzhya to Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

This view was expressed on Monday by Energoatom chief Petro Kotin, who accused Russia of disconnecting the plant from the Ukrainian grid “and then trying to reconnect it to the Russian system,” in an interview with CNN.

He said the only way to do that would be a complete shutdown of the factory “and a complete shutdown of all lines connected to the Ukrainian system. Because the frequencies are different at the moment, the Russian frequency and the Ukrainian frequency – we are synchronized with the European system and they are synchronized with Russia.”

However, he warned that once the fourth line was damaged, “there will be more power outages throughout the plant,” he said, describing it as a “dangerous situation” as the plant would rely solely on diesel generators, which are unreliable.” because they need fuel for their work, and also … they have a limited capacity to be constantly in work mode.”

Top US State Department official Bonnie Jenkins warned on Thursday that Russia’s actions at the plant “have created a serious risk of a nuclear incident, a dangerous radiation that could threaten not only the population and environment of Ukraine, but also neighboring countries and the entire international community.”

Jenkins, secretary of state for arms control and international security, called on Russia to cease its military activities around the plant and stressed the importance of an IAEA visit.

While she could not confirm that the plant had been disconnected from the grid, she reiterated her concerns “about shutting down one of the other power stations”.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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