The last two working electrical units at the site in southern Ukraine were disconnected after shelling sparked fires nearby, Ukraine’s national energy company, Energoatom, said.
“As a result, the station’s two working power units were disconnected from the grid,” he said in a statement posted on Telegram, which blamed Russian forces for the incident. “So the the actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the ZNPP from the power grid – the first in the history of the plant.
The power supply to the plant was restored later in the day, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.
Intense fighting around the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has sparked growing fears of a nuclear catastrophe. The two sides traded blame for the attacks, while world leaders called for a demilitarized zone around the site.
Ukraine warned that Russia planned to disconnect the plant in a potentially risky effort to divert it to the Russian grid. An interruption in the power supply to the plant could also disable the cooling systems essential to the safe operation of the reactors, while the emergency diesel generators are sometimes unreliable.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said he hoped to send a mission to the plant within “a few days”.
Negotiations over the mission’s access to the factory are complicated but progressing, Grossi told France-24 after meeting in Paris French President Emmanuel Macronwho urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call last week to allow the UN agency to visit the site.
“Almost every day, a new incident occurs at or near the [nuclear plant]Grossi said in a statement on Twitter. “We can’t afford to waste any more time. I am determined to personally lead an IAEA mission to the plant in the coming days to help stabilize the nuclear safety and security situation there.
Fires broke out Thursday in the ashtrays of a coal-fired power plant near the nuclear power plant, Energoatom said. The nuclear plant’s safety systems were working normally and work was underway to reconnect one of the power supplies to the grid, he added.
Factory security systems were activated after the power outage, said a local official, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“The reconnection was carried out. Emergency services immediately went to the scene. Specialists quickly carried out work to restore the power supply,” said Alexander Volga, head of the regional administration based in Russia, according to the news agency.
Local officials blamed shelling by Ukrainian troops as the cause of the fires, RIA reported.
NBC News was unable to verify either party’s claims.
The disruption of the nuclear complex captured by Russia shortly after it launched its invasion of Ukraine six months ago unfolded as the town of Enerhodar, where the plant is located, experienced a blackout. ‘electricity.
“Enerhodar once again found itself on the brink of a humanitarian disaster,” Mayor Dmytro Orlov said in a statement on Telegram.
“Today, as a result of enemy shelling, the town was left completely without electricity or water,” he said. “Now we find out how critical the situation is and whether it can be corrected in the near future.”
In a later update, Orlov said the restoration of the power supply had begun “thanks to the employees of the utility companies and the specialists of the (power plant)”.
“After the completion of this process, the sewage connection, the pumping station will start,” he said. “And the next step will be the restoration of the wells to the drinking water intake.”
Artem Grudinin contributed.