The last reactor stopped at the Ukrainian nuclear plant Zaporizhzhia: NPR

FILE – A Russian soldier guards an area at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in an area under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

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FILE – A Russian soldier guards an area at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in an area under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

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Kyiv, Ukraine – A nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which is controlled by Russia and in the center of significant international attention, has announced that it will decommission the final reactor in operation.

In a message Sunday morning, the nuclear power company Energoatom said the power lines to the Zaporizhzhia power plant had been restored, allowing the No. 6 reactor to be disconnected. They are preparing the reactor to be cooled and moved to a colder, safer state.

Due to bombing in and around the area, the entire plant was cut off from the power grid for several days, with one reactor operating in “island mode”, essentially powering the rest of the plant’s vital cooling systems.

The owners discussed closing the plant – due to energy problems and the condition of Ukrainian workers.

NPR understands that it felt the shutdown solution was the “best available, but temporary” option. It is feared that the power lines that reach the grid will be damaged again.

In this case, the plant would have to run emergency diesel generators to keep the reactors cool and prevent nuclear meltdown. On Thursday, the company’s president said the plant has been running on diesel fuel for only 10 days.

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The station, one of the 10 largest atomic power stations in the world, was occupied by Russian forces from the early stages of the war. Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the bombing around the plant, which damaged power lines connecting it to the grid.

In a statement issued early Sunday morning, Energoatum urged Russian forces to leave the Zaporizhzhya plant and allow the creation of a “demilitarized zone” around it.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ international atomic energy agency that has two experts at the station, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Her manager called for a safe area around the plant to avoid a disaster.

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