Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been reconnected to the backup power line for the first time in four months, the head of the United Nation's nuclear watchdog said Monday.
The power plant, which is the largest in Europe, "reconnected to its only available back-up power line four months after it was lost, but the site’s power situation remains extremely fragile during the ongoing military conflict and is not sustainable," Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement.
"The ZNPP’s connection to the single remaining 330 kilovolt (kV) power line — out of six such back-up lines before the conflict — was cut on 1 March due to damage sustained on the other side of the Dnipro River and restored in the evening of 1 July. Work to reconnect the power line had been hampered by the difficult security situation in the southern region," the statement said.
Energoatom, the company that runs nuclear power plants in Ukraine added before the backup power supply was restored "Zaporizhzhia NPP was 'hanging' on only one line of connection with the national power grid and experienced seven complete blackouts."
More background: The IAEA has raised concerns as to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, previously describing the situation as “increasingly unpredictable." It has frequently been disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid due to intense Russian shelling, repeatedly raising fears across Europe of a nuclear accident.
The plant is currently held by Russian forces but mostly operated by a Ukrainian workforce. It is also significant because Ukraine relies heavily on nuclear power. Ukraine would lose 20% of its domestic electricity-generating capacity if Russia kept it.