An important nuclear power plant in Ukraine lost access to external electricity once more, raising concerns as the energy dispute between Moscow and the West continues.
- IAEA says Ukraine nuclear plant again loses power line
- Russia delays pipeline reopening in blow to Europe
- G7 finance chiefs agree on Russian oil price cap
International energy officials said on Saturday that a crucial nuclear power facility in Ukraine once more experienced a loss of external electricity, raising worries as the energy conflict between Moscow and the West has heated up recently amid the ongoing conflict.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ukraine’s biggest facility in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, had its final main external power line shut off but a reserve connection was still able to continue sending energy to the grid.
According to a statement on the agency’s website, just one of the station’s six reactors was still running.
Since Russian soldiers entered Ukraine in late February, the factory has been under Moscow’s control. Each side accuses the other of bombarding the area surrounding.
The dispute over Russian oil and gas exports also intensified this week as the G7 nations established a proposed price ceiling on Russian oil shipments and Moscow threatened to maintain the closure of its main gas pipeline to Germany.
The conflict over energy is a result of President Vladimir Putin’s six-month invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the gap between Moscow and Western countries as Europe braces for the next winter.
About the ongoing shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared in his evening speech on Saturday that “Russia (is) preparing a decisive energy blow on the Europeans for this winter.”
Zelensky previously attributed the shutdown of the nuclear reactor last week, which narrowly escaped a radioactive spill, to Russian bombardment.
Energy outages have been blamed on Moscow by the West and technical difficulties, while Europe has accused Russia of weaponizing supplies as part of an invasion.
Regarding assaults on the Zaporizhzhia facility, which was taken over by Russian forces in March but is still run by Ukrainian employees and connected to the Ukrainian power system, Kyiv and Moscow have swapped allegations.
In anticipation of the release of a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in the coming days, an IAEA delegation visited the plant on Thursday, and some specialists stayed there.
Transmission lines were damaged last week, cutting Zaporizhzhia off from the national grid for the first time in its history. This led to power outages throughout Ukraine, however, emergency generators stepped in to support critical cooling processes.
One reactor was “still operating and producing electricity both for cooling and other essential safety functions at the site and for households, factories and others through the grid.” according to the IAEA’s statement on Saturday.
The fifth reactor was shut down, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant stated in a statement, “as a result of constant shelling by Russian occupation forces,” and “insufficient capacity from the last reserve line to operate two reactors.”
The International Red Cross has warned that deteriorating conditions after the shelling have led to worries of a radiological disaster, which would result in a significant humanitarian crisis.
Russia is accused by Ukraine and the West of placing heavy weaponry at the location to deter Ukraine from striking it. Russia, which disputes the existence of any such weapons there, has up to this point rejected efforts from other countries to withdraw troops and demilitarise the region.
Reuters was unable to confirm the claims made by the Russian defence ministry on Saturday that Ukrainian soldiers had made an unsuccessful effort to seize the plant.
Turkey also made a facilitation offer on Saturday.