The UN nuclear watchdog has condemned new bombings near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has just disconnected the plant from the Ukrainian power grid, according to its operator.
The resumption of bombing is “extremely irresponsible”, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said in a press release on Saturday.
The last power line connecting the plant to the Ukrainian power grid was damaged and disconnected on Saturday due to attacks by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom. The plant now relies on diesel generators.
“Renewed bombing, hitting the plant’s only external power source, is extremely irresponsible. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant must be protected,” Grossi said on Saturday.
“All plant safety systems continue to be powered and functioning normally, IAEA experts were told by Ukrainian operating personnel at the site,” it added in the statement.
“Although all six reactors are in cold shutdown, they still need electricity for vital nuclear safety and security functions. The plant’s diesel generators each have enough fuel for at least ten days,” according to the communicated.
Grossi stressed that the plant “must be protected” and added that he “will soon visit the Russian Federation, and then return to Ukraine, to agree on a nuclear safety and security zone around the plant. is an absolute and urgent imperative.
What Russian officials say: The plant can be put back into operation, said Vladimir Rogov, who is a senior pro-Russian official in the Zaporizhzhia regional government.
“Now the nuclear power plant has been returned to emergency operation mode. The last power line that connected it to the right bank, with the territories controlled by [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s regime was cut. For now, the nuclear power plant can only be powered by diesel generators, and this is an unusual way,” Rogov said during a speech on the pro-Kremlin “Soloviev Live” show on Saturday.
“We have every possibility to restore the nuclear power plant and put it into operation,” he added.