A main power line from Russia’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant was damaged and is now providing electricity to the plant from Ukraine, two weeks after the crash. The UN nuclear watchdog stated Saturday (17 September) that the repair work had been completed.
Although six reactors at Zaporizhzhia were shut down, the fuel needs to be cooled to avoid a catastrophic meltdown. To pump water through its core, the plant needs electricity.
Zaporizhzhia’s power supply was a serious concern after the main line was cut. The main line was also connected to a nearby coal-fired power plant by three additional lines.
The plant was forced into “island mode” after it lost power from its last operating reactor. This mode, however, is not sustainable. After a week of being connected to a backup power source, the reactor was also capable of shutting down.
In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog said that the main line had been reconnected yesterday afternoon and that three backup power lines were being held in reserve.
The company also stated that three of the main external 750kV power lines (kilovolt) that were damaged during conflict earlier are still down.
Russia and Ukraine both blame each other for the attack on Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear power station (ZNPP), which caused damage to buildings as well as disconnection of power lines.
According to the IAEA, while the ZNPP’s power situation improved over the past week in stark contrast with earlier in the month, when all power lines at one stage were down and it relied upon its last operating reactor for vital electricity supplies, the overall situation for the plant in war zones is still precarious.
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