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According to the responsible Ukrainian agency, preparations are underway to “cool the facility and bring it to a cold state.”
The last working reactor at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has been completely shut down as fears of a radiological disaster persist.
On Sunday, Energoatum, the government agency responsible for the plant, said work at the facility was “completely halted” after power unit 6 was disconnected from the grid at 3:41 am (00:41 GMT).
“A decision was made to shut down the power unit number 6 and transfer it to the safest state – cold shutdown,” she said on Telegram.
The Zaporizhzhia plant, consisting of six reactors, was cut off the grid last week after all power lines were cut as a result of the fighting in the area. It worked in “island mode” for several days, generating electricity for critical cooling systems from its only remaining operational reactor.
Energoatom said it has restored to operating capacity a power system communications line, allowing the plant to be powered by the Ukrainian power system long enough to start shutting down.
The company said the shutdown was due to the risk of further damage to power lines “still high”, which will lead to the plant being completely disconnected from the power grid again.
When disconnected from the grid, the plant is forced to rely on “diesel generators, the duration of which is limited by… the amount of diesel fuel available”. The station reportedly only has diesel fuel available for 10 days.
Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of damaging the power lines that supply the station with missiles and artillery, which could lead to a nuclear disaster.
Kyiv on Wednesday called on residents of Russian-occupied areas around the plant, the largest in Europe, to evacuate for their own safety.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the demilitarization of the surrounding area.
The nuclear facility, one of the ten largest nuclear power plants in the world, was occupied by Russian forces from the early stages of the war.
Energoatom urged Russian forces to leave the Zaporizhzhia plant and allow the creation of a “demilitarized zone” around it.
It is also calling for a safe zone around the plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s international atomic energy agency, which has two experts at the plant.
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