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March 15, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 12:57pm

Russian troops damage power line to Chornobyl nuclear plant

Ukrenergo said that Russian forces damaged the power line even before power had been fully restored to the site.

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

Ukraine’s transmission system operator Ukrenergo has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the restored power line to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has been destroyed again by Russian forces.

On 14 March, Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom told the IAEA that the external power supply to the NPP had been restored.

Energoatom also reported that staff at the power plant had started works to reconnect the nuclear facility to the power grid.

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said: “The power supply issues underline the urgency of agreeing and implementing a framework proposed by the IAEA to ensure the safety and security of all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including also four operating nuclear power plants.”

The IAEA noted that the earlier power line disruption to the Chornobyl NPP did not impact the plant’s essential safety operations.

This was because there was enough cooling water in its spent fuel storage facility to maintain heat removal without an electricity supply.

The IAEA also said that a safety analysis report for the spent fuel facility concluded that a total loss of power would not affect ‘essential’ safety systems.

The regulator said the plant’s current diesel reserves would last until the evening of 15 March.

According to the IAEA, eight of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors are still operational.

These include two reactors at the Zaporizhzhya NPP and three at the Rivne nuclear facility, as well as two reactors located in Ukraine’s southern region.

The IAEA also said that it is aware of reports that the Russian forces executed munition explosions at the Zaporizhzhya NPP. It is seeking information from Ukraine about the situation.

Ukrenergo had previously told the IAEA about work to detect and dispose of unexploded munitions found at the damaged training centre and elsewhere at the Zaporizhzhya plant.

Russian forces took control of the plant on 4 March.

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