1685999806 origin 1

IAEA: Ukrainian nuclear power plant without standby power for 3 months

origin 1This was stated by the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna. Dean Calma/IAEA/dpa

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been without external backup power for three months, making it “extremely vulnerable,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi warned.

The plant relies on an operational remaining 750 kilovolt (kV) power line for external electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions, the IAEA said.

Prior to the conflict, the plant had four such off-site power lines.

“The overall situation at the site remains highly precarious and potentially dangerous,” Grossi said.

“The fragile energy situation at the site continues to be a source of deep concern and – as the recently established IAEA principles indicate – efforts need to be stepped up to ensure a more stable and predictable external supply of electricity.”

IAEA principles state that Zaporizhzhya should not be used as a military base or as a storage facility for weapons such as tanks or artillery that could be deployed from the site.

They also provide to ensure the external power supply of the plant and to protect the plant from acts of sabotage.

The IAEA said that in the event of a 750kV line failure, as happened on May 22, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant would be forced to rely on emergency diesel generators as a last line of defence.

Meanwhile, a team of IAEA experts on the ground reported hearing two landmine explosions near the plant, “once again highlighting the tense situation amid intense speculation of imminent military action in the region.” the agency said.

The six-reactor plant has been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022.

Grossi said he plans to visit the plant soon, which would be the third time during the conflict.

“With the establishment of the five principles – and my intention to report any violations – it is important that I return to the plant to assess developments since my last visit at the end of March,” he said.