Sep 11, 2022 - World

Last reactor at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is stopped, IAEA says

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on Aug. 30. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The last operating reactor at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station has been put into its "safest state" and shut down after being reconnected to the country's electrical grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced in a statement on Sunday.

Driving the news: The plant, which is Europe's largest nuclear power station, was disconnected from Ukraine's power grid last week amid shelling, and was operating on "island mode" for days by using its remaining reactor to generate enough electricity for critical cooling systems, AP reports.

State of play: A backup power line connecting the plant to Ukraine's electrical grid was restored on Saturday night, enabling the power grid to provide the electricity needed for "nuclear safety" at the plant, per the IAEA statement.

  • As a result, a decision was made to shut down the sixth and last reactor on Sunday and "transfer it to the safest state — cold shutdown," Energoatom, Ukraine's nuclear power operator, said in a Telegram post Sunday.
  • Energoatom said the risk for continued power cuts "remains high" and would necessitate the use of diesel generators to keep the plant sufficiently cool, noting that diesel generators' viability is "limited by the technological resource and the amount of available diesel fuel."
  • Energoatom confirmed to AP that the plant has only enough diesel fuel to last 10 days.

What they're saying: “I remain gravely concerned about the situation at the plant, which remains in danger as long as any shelling continues," IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said in the statement.

  • "To address this serious situation, consultations have begun on the urgent need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant," he added.
  • "A secure off-site power supply from the grid and backup power supply systems are essential for ensuring nuclear safety and preventing a nuclear accident, even when the reactors are no longer operating," the IAEA statement underscored.
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