Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s main power line restored, IAEA says

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a statement Saturday saying the main power line to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is working again. 

The agency says all four main external power lines for the nuclear plant were shut off in recent weeks, with Russian shelling causing damage to them. 

The 750 kilovolt (kV) line, one of the four lines, was shut off on Sept. 11 and reconnected on Sept. 16, according to IAEA. 

“The restored 750 kilovolt (kV) line is now providing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – whose last operating reactor was shut down on 11 September – with the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions,” the statement reads. 

The plant has been using back-up power lines to continue safety functions but has not been providing power to houses, factories and other buildings that rely on it for electricity since Sept. 5.

“The three other main external 750 kV power lines that were lost earlier during the conflict remain down. All the ZNPP’s six reactors are in a cold shutdown state, but they still require power to maintain necessary safety functions,” IAEA stated. 

The nuclear plant is still under Russian control, IAEA says, but Ukrainians are handling its operations. 

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said there are still major concerns about the plant, despite the improvements, due to the conflict and shelling occurring in the areas around Zaporizhzhia.

Fighting between Ukraine and Russia near the facility — Europe’s largest nuclear plant — has fueled fears of a nuclear disaster, which experts say could lead to radiation leakage that impacts local communities but would likely not result in a global catastrophe.

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