Vienna, Sep 9 (EFE).- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi on Friday warned that the situation at the besieged Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest, was “increasingly precarious” after shelling knocked out the power infrastructure linking it to the city of Enerhodar, plunging it into the dark.
“Today, I have learned from IAEA staff on the site of the serious situation that developed last night at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP),” Grossi said in a statement.
“The power infrastructure feeding the city of Enerhodar, home to the NPP’s operators and their families, has been destroyed by shelling of the switchyard at the city’s thermal power plant, leading to a complete power black-out in Enerhodar: no running water, no power, no sewage.”
Two IAEA experts remain onsite at the plant following a recent inspection.
Grossi added that the operator was considering shutting down the last remaining reactor at the nuclear plant, which is occupied by Russia but located close to the front lines of an active Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“The entire power plant would then be fully reliant on emergency diesel generators for ensuring vital nuclear safety and security functions. And as a consequence, the operator would not be able to re-start the reactors unless offsite power was reliably re-established.”
He added: “This is an unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious. Enerhodar has gone dark. The power plant has no offsite power. And we have seen that once infrastructure is repaired, it is damaged once again.”
“I therefore urgently call for the immediate cessation of all shelling in the entire area. Only this will ensure the safety and security of operating staff and allow the durable restoration of power to Enerhodar and to the power plant,” he added. EFE