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Update 103 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) is once again receiving electricity directly from the national grid after engineers repaired one of the four main external power lines that have all been damaged during the conflict, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) learnt at the site today.

The restored 750 kilovolt (kV) line is now providing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – whose last operating reactor was shut down on 11 September – with the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions. After the ZNPP lost the connection to the same 750 kV line two weeks ago, it first relied on electricity produced by the plant itself and then on back-up power lines linking it to the grid through the electrical switchyard of a nearby thermal power plant.

With the main line’s re-connection yesterday afternoon, the three back-up power lines are again being held in reserve. The three other main external 750 kV power lines that were lost earlier during the conflict remain down. All the ZNPP’s six reactors are in a cold shutdown state, but they still require power to maintain necessary safety functions. Since 5 September, the plant has not been providing any electricity to households, factories and others relying on it for their needs.

The 750 kV line was restored on the same day as the national Ukrainian operator Energoatom said it had delivered spare parts for the repair of the ZNPP’s power lines as well as additional fuel supplies for the plant’s emergency diesel generators that can be used as a back-up power source. These spare part and fuel deliveries were confirmed by IAEA experts at the site. The ZNPP is held by Russian forces but continues to be operated by its Ukrainian personnel.

A secure off-site power supply from the grid and back-up power supply systems are essential for ensuring nuclear safety and preventing a nuclear accident, even when the reactors are no longer operating. This requirement is among the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi outlined at the beginning of the conflict.

While the ZNPP’s power status has improved over the past week – in sharp contrast to earlier this month when all power lines at one stage were down and it depended on its last operating reactor for vital electricity supplies – the general situation for the plant located in the middle of a war zone remains precarious, Director General Grossi said. While there has been no recent shelling at or near the ZNPP, it continues to occur in the wider area, he said.

To help stabilise the situation, the Director General has initiated consultations with the relevant parties aimed at the urgent establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the ZNPP. Earlier this month, he established a continuous IAEA presence at the ZNPP after leading a team of experts to the site. 


Last update: 07 May 2024

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