IAEA chief warns that situation at nuclear station remains fragile The IAEA has again called for a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the facility. Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station has restored the connection to its last remaining operating 750 kilovolt (kV) power line after it was lost for the third time in 10 days, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi said on Tuesday (18 October).

IAEA experts at the Zaporizhzhia site were informed by senior Ukrainian operating personnel that the connection was re-established at 21:30 local time on Monday (17 October), almost 18 hours after the line was disconnected by a protection system that automatically takes such action when the voltage drops too low.

During the station’s previous two external power cuts – on 8 and 12 October – emergency diesel generators provided the backup electricity needed for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions.

On Monday, however, the station continued to receive power from an offsite 330 kV line that supplies electricity through a back-up system that was restored late last week.

With Tuesday’s re-connection of the 750 kV line, the station now has both available, although its power situation remains fragile, Grossi said.

Safety And Security Situation ‘Precarious’

Grossi said the repeated outages show how precarious the nuclear safety and security situation continues to be at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant during the military conflict in Ukraine.

They also underline the need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the facility, following frequent shelling at or near the station in recent months.

Last week Grossi met Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin for talks on establishing the zone.

“Now more than ever... a protection zone must be established,” Grossi said in a statement. “We can’t afford to lose any more time. The stakes are high. We must do everything in our power to help ensure that a nuclear accident does not happen during this tragic conflict, as it could cause even more hardship and suffering in Ukraine and beyond.”

Putin told Grossi that Moscow is “happy to discuss all the issues that are of mutual interest to us,” according to Russia’s state-controlled Tass news agency, adding that the situation around the plant was “a concern” for the Kremlin.

Grossi Says Station Is ‘Ukrainian’

The meeting with Putin came after he ordered that the daily operation of the power station be transferred to a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom following Russia’s bogus annexation of the broader Zaporizhzhia region. The facility has been occupied by Russian soldiers since March but it continues to be run by Ukrainian staff.

The Ukrainian government has rejected the validity of Putin’s decree and named Petro Kotin, the head of the country’s nuclear operator Energoatom, as the interim director of the Zaporizhzhia station. Kotin said last week he had transferred administration of the Zaporizhzhia facility to Energoatom’s headquarters in Kyiv.

Grossi described the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station as Ukrainian, challenging Putin’s assertion that the facility was now part of Russia.

Date: Thursday, 20 October 2022
Original article: nucnet.org/news/last-remaining-750-kv-power-line-restored-at-zaporizhzhia-10-3-2022