Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant Stops Operations As Safety Measure

The Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine has halted operations as a safety measure, according to a Sunday statement from Energoatom, the state agency in charge of the plant.

The plant is “completely stopped” after Energoatom disconnected the number 6 power unit from the grid at around 3:40 a.m., the statement read. 

“Preparations are underway for its cooling and transfer to a cold state,” the agency said.

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On Wednesday, Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv urged residents of Russian-occupied areas around the plant to evacuate for safety reasons.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the nuclear plant and risking a nuclear disaster.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has requested that the surrounding area be demilitarized.

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Energoatom said it restored a communications line to the power system to operational capacity on Saturday. The agency said the line had been damaged by Russian shelling, which allowed the plant to be powered by Ukraine’s energy system.

“Therefore, a decision was made to shut down power unit No. 6 and transfer it to the safest state – cold shutdown,” Energoatom said. 

The agency said the risk of the line enduring further damage “remains high.” 

This would force the plant to be “powered by diesel generators, the duration of which is limited by the technological resource and the amount of available diesel fuel,” the agency explained.

Reuters contributed to this report.