Updated Oct 4, 2022 - World

Ukraine considering restarting Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

A general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on Sept. 11. Photo: Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian officials are considering whether to restart two reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in order to ensure that its safety equipment remains undamaged and operational, the head of Ukraine's nuclear power operator told AP in an interview Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move could come nearly a month after nuclear power operator Energoatom shut down the plant in order to prevent a radiation disaster.

  • Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power station, has endured shelling and power cuts since August that have sparked global alarm.

State of play: Energoatom President Petro Kotin told AP that the company could decide as soon as Wednesday to restart the reactors as winter approaches, ensuring the safety system in the plant doesn't get so cold that they cease working.

  • “We at the moment are evaluating all the risks. And this depends on the weather. And actually, we don’t have much time to do that,” Kotin said.
  • “If you have low temperature, you will just freeze everything inside. The safety equipment will be damaged,” he added, explaining that the "consequences would be very, very dangerous."
  • “So you need heating and the only heating is going to come from the working reactor.”

The big picture: Russian troops occupied the plant back in March but continued to operate it with its Ukrainian staff.

  • Russian forces detained the head of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Ihor Murashov, last week. International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Grossi announced on Monday that Murashov had been released.
  • Murashov was forced to make false statements on camera before being released, per AP.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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