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Zaporizhzhia plant loses power line

China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-05 09:13
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IAEA chief Rafael Grossi explains a graph to media at Vienna International Airport in Austria on Friday, after the return of an IAEA team from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. APA/AFP

VIENNA-The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has once again lost connection to its last remaining main external power line, but the facility continues to supply electricity to the grid through a reserve line.

The agency's experts stationed at the Zaporizhzhia plant were told by Ukrainian staff members on Saturday that the facility's fourth, which is also the last one still operational, 750-kilovolt power line was down. A similar incident occurred last week amid shelling of the plant.

The three other main external power lines were lost earlier during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the IAEA has said.

The plant is now relying on a reserve line that links the facility to a nearby thermal power plant, to deliver electricity to the external grid. The reserve line can also provide backup power to the plant if needed, the IAEA said.

It also said only one of the plant's six reactors remained in operation.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said on Friday that six members of the agency's expert mission remained at the plant, including four who will leave next week and another two who will stay there as the agency's continued presence in the longer term.

The IAEA said the experts will "carry out detailed and continuous work to assess the physical damage to the plant's facilities, determine the functionality of the main and backup safety and security systems and evaluate the staff's working conditions, in addition to performing urgent safeguards activities on the site".

Grossi said he plans to issue a report on the safety of the nuclear power plant early this week.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, one of Europe's largest nuclear power plants, has been controlled by Russian forces since early March, but its Ukrainian staff have continued to operate it. Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations of recent strikes on the facility.

Meanwhile, the standoff over Russian gas and oil exports continues as Moscow vowed to keep its main gas pipeline to Germany shuttered, and G7 countries-United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States-announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.

"Russia (is) preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans this winter," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his nightly address on Saturday, citing the Nord Stream 1 pipeline's continued closure.

Also on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged views on bilateral ties during a phone call.

Putin and Erdogan reaffirmed their commitment to expanding trade and economic relations between the two countries, including promoting joint strategic projects in the energy sector, the Kremlin said.

According to the statement, when discussing the situation in Ukraine, Erdogan stressed Russia's constructive role in organizing an IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Ankara, which has good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow, has been acting as a mediator between the two sides since early in the conflict.

Xinhua - Agencies

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