After a forced shutdown due to Russian shelling, reactor No. 5 at Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was brought back online and reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said in a Telegram post on Sep. 2.
The reactor is steadily ramping up power generation. Two ZNPP reactors remain operational, and contributing to Ukraine’s power generation.
“Equipment and safety protocols are operating nominally,” Energoatom said.
The reactor No. 5 was taken offline on Sep. 1 after a Russian mortar attack hit the power plant’s backup power lines. It was the second incident in 10 days when the facility was brought offline.
A delegation of 14 IAEA experts arrived at Russia-occupied ZNPP on Sep. 1. After spending several hours at the facility, part of the delegation departed. Five agency experts remain at the power plant, setting up monitoring equipment.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said that Russian troops are doing everything they can to prevent IAEA from properly assessing how ZNPP fares under Russian military occupation. In particular, the delegation was barred from the plant’s crisis management center, which is currently packed with Russian soldiers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later said that Russia made an effort to prevent IAEA from getting a complete picture of what’s going on at ZNPP, but noted that the agency could still play a role in pressuring Moscow to demilitarize the facility.
Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are captives of the occupying troops.
The Kremlin uses the facility as cover for its forces, as Ukraine is unable to return fire due to the risk of causing a nuclear disaster.