A backup power line, connecting the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to the Ukrainian power grid, was restored on Sept. 11, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Twitter.
"A back-up power line to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant has been restored, providing the plant with the external electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other safety functions," the update reads.
Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom announced a complete shutdown of the Zaporizhzhya NPP following the power line’s successful restoration. Over the three days prior, it had been operating in the island mode, feeding only the ZNPP's own needs at a critically low power level (from 114 to 140 MW). This was caused by Russian shelling, which damaged all power lines connecting the plant to Ukraine, including the four backups.
On Sept. 1, an IAEA delegation arrived at the ZNPP, located in the Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Oblast. A group of specialists led by IAEA chief Raphael Grossi spent several hours at the facility. According to the IAEA chief, two members of the agency are to remain permanently at the plant.
On Sept. 6, the IAEA published a report following their visit, which suggests there is an acute need for temporary measures to ensure nuclear safety of the ZNPP, including establishing a secure zone around the power plant. The IAEA says it’s ready to discuss concrete steps to secure such a perimeter. The agency also called for an end to shelling near the plant, but failed to specify who was firing.
The ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and has been illegally occupied by Russian forces since March 4. The station’s Ukrainian employees are currently being held captive by invading Russian forces.
Russian troops are known to have set up firing positions at the ZNPP and have regularly shelled Ukrainian cities from them. Energoatom has reported that the Russian military placed more than a dozen pieces of military equipment, including ammunition, weapons, and explosives in the turbine hall of the first reactor of the plant.
Video of IAEA inspectors at the plant later confirmed the presence of the Russian military equipment inside the plant’s buildings.
The invaders also brought additional armored personnel carriers and special trucks to the repair area of the station on Aug. 22.
In total, more than 40 units of Russian military equipment have been placed on the grounds of the facility.