Russia-seized nuclear power plant to remain without backup power for at least another week - IAEA

Russia-seized nuclear power plant to remain without backup power for at least another week - IAEA

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains dependent on a single operating 750-kV transmission line, while the 330-kV reserve line will not be reconnected for at least another week.

This was reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ukrinform saw.

"Further underlining the fragile nuclear safety and security situation at the ZNPP, the plant remains without back-up external power after the only remaining 330 kilovolt (kV) line was disconnected more than two weeks ago, on 20 February. As a result, the ZNPP remains dependent on its only functioning 750 kV power line, out of four such lines available before the conflict. The IAEA team was informed that the 330 kV line is not expected to be reconnected for at least another week," the report said.

The Russian occupation administration of the ZNPP also informed the IAEA team it had started maintenance activities at Reactor Unit 1, with the exception of those planned to be performed on safety systems and electrical equipment, which have been postponed until the 330 kV line is reconnected.

Read also: IAEA Board of Governors demands that Ukraine regain control over Zaporizhzhia NPP

The IAEA also reports that this week its experts "continued to hear explosions and other indications of military activity not far away from the facility".

"Three times this week, they reported hearing several successive explosions within a few minutes, as well as one explosion yesterday evening and multiple explosions this morning, possibly indicating the use of heavy weapons from an area close to the plant," the report said.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP has survived eight complete blackouts: five in 2022 and three in 2023.

For the first time, the Zaporizhzhia NPP was cut off from the country's power grid on August 25, 2022. Then, as a result of enemy shelling, the last remaining high-voltage overhead power line, PL-750 kV Dniprovska, sustained damage.

Read also: Grossi, Putin discuss safety at Zaporizhzhia NPP

Despite numerous statements by Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom warning of pressing threats, the Russian military continued to target ZNPP’s power lines and open distribution devices during strikes. By the end of 2022, four more blackouts occurred due to damage to power lines: on October 8 and 12, November 3 and 23.

In 2023, three full outages were recorded: March 9, May 22, and December 2. In all cases, Ukrainian specialists reconnected damaged power lines in the shortest possible time under adverse circumstances.

ZNPP has survived seven complete power blackouts, remaining on the only trunk line of communication with the energy system of Ukraine. And only on July 3, 2023 was backup power supply from the Ukrainian grid through the 330kV line restored.

The eighth blackout at the Zaporizhzhia NPP occurred on the night of December 2, 2023 due to damage to the 330kV ZaTPP-Ferrosplavna power line and de-energization of the last remaining 750 kV line, ZNPP-Dniprovska. Having lost connection with both external lines, the Zaporizhzhia NPP switched to diesel generators.

Recently, the NPP was again on the verge of blackout. On February 21, 2024, as a result of Russian shelling, the PL-330 kV line was de-energized, which left the facility with a single power line, PL-750 kV Dniprovska, connecting the ZNPP to the Ukrainian power grid.

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