The last operational reactor at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine has been shut down amid fears of radiation disaster, the Ukraine government announced on Sunday.
The nuclear operator Energoatom said that the No6 reactor has been disconnected. It said they are preparing for the reactor to be cooled and transferred to a cold, safer state.
“Today, September 11, 2022, at night, at 03.41 am (0141 GMT), unit No. 6 of the ZNPP was disconnected from the power grid. Preparations are underway for its cooling and transfer to a cold state,” it said in a statement.
The Zaporizhzhia plant, which was running on six reactors, was cut off from the electricity grid last and all its power lines were disconnected following intense shelling in the area, reports AFP.
It was running on only one reactor and that too in “island mode” for several days, essentially powering the rest of the plant’s crucial cooling systems.
The state agency said the plant was restored to operational capacity, allowing the plant to be powered by Ukraine’s energy system long enough to initiate the shutdown.
It said that the nuclear plant’s shutdown was because the risk of further damage to the power lines “remains high”, which would disconnect the plant completely from the power grid again, in which case the plant would have to fire up emergency diesel generators to keep the reactors cool and prevent a nuclear meltdown.
The nuclear plant was occupied by the Russian forces in the early stages of the invasion. It is one of the 10 biggest atomic power stations in the world.
Russia and Ukraine traded blame for shelling around the plant that has caused significant damage to the power lines connecting it to the grid.
(With inputs from agencies)
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