The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said “he remains gravely concerned about the situation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as long as any shelling continues, the UN nuclear watchdog said Sunday.
“Despite this damage, plant operators and engineers have been able to restore one of the reserve power lines, in very challenging circumstances, to provide the ZNPP with badly-needed external electricity,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.
But the IAEA chief also said “he remains “gravely concerned about the situation at the plant, which remains in danger as long as any shelling continues. To address this serious situation, consultations have begun on the urgent need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).”
Zaporizhzhia is the site of the largest nuclear plant in Europe. The facility sits in the Russian occupied part of southern Ukraine and has been on the fire line between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
The IAEA also said a back-up power line to the plant has been restored and it is providing the external electricity needed for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions.
The 330 kilovolt back-up power line enabled the plant to shut down its last operating reactor early on Sunday, according to the UN nuclear watchdog.
“This reactor had over the past week provided the ZNPP with power after the facility was disconnected from the grid. With the line restoration, electricity needed for nuclear safety at the ZNPP once again comes from the external grid,” the IAEA said.