Ukraine announced on Sunday the shutdown of the sixth and last reactor in operation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe and currently occupied by Russian forces.
"Today, September 11, 2022, during the night at 03:41 (01:41 GMT) unit number 6 of the (power plant) was disconnected from the electricity grid," according to a statement from Ukrainian operator Energoatom.
“Preparations are underway for its cooling,” adds the operator.
According to Energoatom, a cold shutdown is “the safest state” for the reactor, which for three days had been the only one to produce the electricity needed to cool the nuclear fuel and to ensure the safety of the site.
The decision to shut it down was taken when the site’s external power supply was restored “last night” with one of the transmission lines.
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“In the event of further damage to the transmission lines connecting the site to the electrical system – the risk of which remains high – the internal needs (of the site) will have to be provided by generators running on diesel”, warns Energoatom.
In its press release, Energoatom reiterates its call for the establishment of a demilitarised zone around the plant, the only way, according to the operator, to ensure its security.
Ukraine and its allies have expressed growing concerns about the safety of the Zaporizhzhia plant. For weeks, confusion has reigned around the site of the power plant, hit by multiple strikes of which Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other.