Backup power line at Zaporizhzhia NPP remains disconnected - IAEA

Backup power line at Zaporizhzhia NPP remains disconnected - IAEA

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed concern that the last remaining back up 330 kilovolt (kV) power line at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), damaged three weeks ago, remains under repair.

This is said in a statement published on the IAEA’s website, Ukrinform reports.

“The last remaining back up 330 kilovolt (kV) power line at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), damaged since 1 March, remains disconnected and under repair, again highlighting the fragility of nuclear safety and security at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP),” the statement says.

According to Grossi, for three weeks, the ZNPP has received off-site electricity from only one remaining 750 kV main external power line.

“Though all six reactors at the ZNPP are in shutdown, with two in hot shutdown, the plant needs off-site power to perform essential nuclear safety and security functions. Without the back-up line, any damage to the 750 kV line will result in total loss of all off-site power to the plant,” the statement says.

The IAEA reminds that on March 9, the plant lost all off-site power for 11 hours when the 750 kV line was disconnected, forcing the plant to rely on its emergency diesels generators for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions.

Director General Grossi stated that the situation “at the plant remains perilous.”

The IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia (ISAMZ) team currently present at the plant was informed that restoration of the line had been planned for 5, 10 and then 13 March but had not been possible. The latest reconnection date is scheduled for 23 March. At the same time, in an additional warning of the deteriorating situation, the ISAMZ team was informed that the connection to the 750 kV line may be disconnected for an unknown period of time to perform maintenance/repairs on the line.

Currently, “there is no information as to if or when this may occur or for how long.”

“Nuclear safety at the ZNPP remains in a precarious state. If this disconnection from the main power line and repair work is performed while the 330 kV line is not available it will cause a complete loss of power and will make the plant reliant on diesel generators – its last line of defence - for the seventh time. I once again call for a commitment from all sides to secure nuclear safety and security protection at the plant,” said Director General Grossi.

As reported by Ukrinform, President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier stated that it is necessary to find mechanisms to liberate the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the Russian invaders, as currently no international institution can resolve this issue.

Photo: Fredrik Dahl / IAEA

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