Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Ukraine: Zaporizhia nuclear power plant back on the grid

The gigantic nuclear power plant of Zaporijjia is again connected to the electricity network. The announcement was made this Friday by the Ukrainian operator Energoatom. The day before, the plant had been disconnected, amid growing concerns about the safety of the site.

kyiv announced Thursday that the plant, the largest in Europe, had been “totally disconnected” from the network. A first in its history. In question: damage to the power lines caused by the “actions” of the Russian “invader”, according to kyiv, while the site remains occupied by Vladimir Putin’s troops.

“Real heroes” who ensure “Europe’s nuclear security”

The security of Zaporizhia, located near the front line, and the risk of a nuclear accident in the event of a bombardment have worried international leaders since it fell to Russian forces in early March. And even more in recent weeks, where Moscow and kyiv accuse each other of several bombings on the site.

“One of the reactors of the Zaporijjia power plant shut down the day before was reconnected to the electricity grid today” at 2:04 p.m. (1:04 p.m. in Paris), Energoatom announced on Telegram. The company also ensures that its security systems are working normally.

The reactor “produces electricity for the needs of Ukraine” and “the increase in (its) power is in progress”, also specifies the tweet. “The employees of the Zaporizhia plant are real heroes” who ensure “the nuclear security of Ukraine and of the whole of Europe”, the group further declared.

An IAEA mission dispatched to the scene

“Russia has put Ukrainians, like all Europeans, on the brink of a nuclear disaster,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Thursday, six months to the day after the start of the invasion of his country. The UN has called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the plant to secure it and allow the dispatch of an international inspection mission.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected at the plant “next week”, according to the adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Energy, Lana Zerkal. This accuses the Russians “of artificially creating obstacles so that the mission cannot reach this installation”.

“Civil nuclear power should not be an instrument of war,” pleaded French President Emmanuel Macron, while Russia is accused of having accumulated men, equipment and artillery in the plant. US diplomacy has warned that any Russian attempt to divert Ukrainian nuclear energy would be “unacceptable”.


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