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July 4, 2022

Energoatom re-establishes link to Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant

Russian forces took control of the nuclear plant after the current military conflict began in Ukraine.

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the GlobalData Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power operator Energoatom has re-established a remote connection to safeguards surveillance systems at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (NPP).

Reuters reported that the remote link was restored after communications with the plant were lost for the second time in a month.

Energoatom re-established the connection through its ‘own efforts’, the news agency quoted the company as saying, while transmission of mandatory monitoring data to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also resumed.

Last week, the IAEA confirmed that a remote surveillance connection was lost due to disruption to the facility’s communication systems.

This was due to Russian occupiers in Enerhodar cutting off all Ukrainian mobile operators, including Vodavone, with which the IAEA had a contract for data transmission.

The Zaporizhzhya NPP is located in Energodar and is capable of generating up to 42 billion kWh of electricity. It includes six pressurised water reactor (PWR) units.

Russian forces took control of the 6GW NPP in March after the current military conflict began in Ukraine, but the nuclear plant is still operated by Ukrainian staff.

One of Russia’s deputy prime ministers stated last month that Moscow hoped to connect the plant to the Russian energy grid, but Ukrainian officials said this would take ‘years’.

The IAEA has not been able to visit the Zaporizhzhya NPP since the beginning of the conflict.

It also underlined the need for an urgent inspection of the plant, which should include essential nuclear safety, security and safeguarding activities at the facility.

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi recently also expressed concerns regarding staff at the Zaporizhzhya NPP.

At present, eight of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear energy reactors, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, are connected to the grid. The remaining seven are in maintenance or under reserve.

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