The last functioning reactor of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was disconnected from the grid today, the Ukrainian state-owned operator Energoatom reported, as quoted by France Press.
“Reactor number 6 was shut down and disconnected from the network,” the company reported in “Telegram” and cited a fire “caused by shelling” as the reason, which damaged the reactor’s electrical connection to Ukraine’s power grid.
So far, there is no evidence of who fired at the power plant. Russia states that there is no logic in sending an army to take control of the NPP so that they can fire and blow themselves up while at the same time preparing a referendum on the secession of Zaporozhye. The Ukrainians say that there is no logic in shelling their own nuclear power plant and endangering their own population.
The reactor was the only one still operating out of a total of six at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose representatives are still on the ground, announced that reactor number 5 was also shut down due to damage to electrical cables after shelling. The remaining four reactors of the Zaporizhia NPP have been shut down for weeks.
The shutdown comes after a visit on Friday by the IAEA mission to the headquarters, which has been a source of tension between Kyiv and Moscow for months and has come under repeated shelling. They have raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe, with Russia and Ukraine exchanging blame for the shelling for weeks.
A large part of the mission, led by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, left headquarters on the day of its visit. Of the remaining six experts, four left this morning, while two will remain permanently in place, Energoatom said in another announcement.
The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has a total of six reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, came under Russian control in March, shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.