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March 3, 2022

Russian troops take control of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in Ukraine

The Zaporizhzhya plant houses six nuclear energy reactors and is Europe's largest nuclear plant.

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

Update: Read about the later fire at the power plant here.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi has been notified that the Russian military has taken control of the area around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

On 1 March, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Organisations in Vienna wrote an official letter to Grossi saying that the personnel at the plant ‘continued their work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation’.

The letter added that radiation levels at the plant ‘remain normal’.

Zaporizhzhya is Ukraine’s largest NPP, featuring six of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) said that it has made contact with all the country’s nuclear facilities, which are all understood to be operating normally.

The SNRIU’s Acting Chief State Inspector also wrote a letter to Grossi on 1 March and asked the IAEA to offer immediate assistance in coordinating activities to ensure the safety of the Chornobyl NPP and other nuclear facilities.

Grossi said that it will hold meetings and maintain contacts in order to address this request.

In a separate development, Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas has said that it will suspend new commercial activities in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, according to a reNEWS report.

Vestas’ decision comes after all its manufacturing, construction and transportation activities were affected by the war.

The Danish company is understood to have also condemned the Russian government for its activities in Ukraine.

On 2 March, Ukraine informed the IAEA that all its NPPs remained under the control of Energoatom, the country’s national nuclear plant operator.

The country stated that its NPPs were not under any new reported threats.

Energoatom asked the IAEA to help ensure the safety of 15 atomic reactors in the country as the invasion continues.

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