Ukraine halts electricity supply to nuclear power plant
Ukraine has stopped supplying electricity to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, forcing it to rely on emergency diesel generators, local authorities announced on Tuesday.
“We’ve yet again switched to emergency generation sources to enable all the processes that are going on at the Zaporozhye NPP itself,” the head of the Energodar city administration, Aleksandr Volga, told the Rossiya-24 broadcaster.
Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant is currently in a dormant state, with its last reactor shut down back in September amid repeated shelling attacks by the Ukrainian forces. The facility needs an external electricity supply to operate the reactors’ cooling systems.
The Zaporozhye plant, alongside with most of the surrounding region, was seized by the Russian military early in the conflict. Along with three other former Ukrainian territories, it was incorporated into Russia after the accession was backed in a referendum last month.
The nuclear power plant was officially put under new Russian management last week, after President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on the matter. Currently, the new management has no plans to restart the facility, interim governor of Zaprozhye region, Evgeny Balitsky has said.
“The nuclear reactors are not started, and we do not plan to start them in the nearest future. It’s working on diesel generators,” Balitsky told the broadcaster.
Russian officials sent mixed signals on the electricity supply to the nuclear power plant on Tuesday, with Vladimir Rogov, a senior official in Zaporozhye Region, claiming the facility had been already connected to Russia’s grid. “The nuclear plant has been connected to power lines from our side,” Rogov told RIA Novosti.
The claim, however, was debunked by Renat Karchaa, a senior official with Rosenergoatom, Russia’s state-run operator of nuclear power plants. “Zaporozhye NPP is not powered by the Russian grid. At the moment, there is no technical possibility for that,” Karchaa told TASS news agency later in the day.