Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant seen on Sunday. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

The chairman of Ukraine’s state nuclear company – Energoatom – told CNN that the power units of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remain in a cooling state as work continues to restore the power lines of the plant.

Speaking to CNN via Skype, Petro Kotin said all seven feeder lines to the plant had been damaged and it had switched to what he called “island mode” – where the plant was supplying electricity. electricity only for itself.

“We tried to extend the operation of one of our power units as long as possible, even in the conditions where it was operating in island mode. It worked for us for three days,” he told CNN.

Kotin said only one of the six power units continued to operate and supplied the plant’s needs – the electricity needed for the pumps that cool the nuclear materials. The reactors “are full of nuclear materials, fuel and there are also six pools which are located near the reactors of each power unit. They have to be constantly cooled,” he said.

“The danger is that if there is no power the pumps will stop and there will be no cooling, and in about an hour and a half to two hours you will have a meltdown of this fuel that is in the reactor,” he added. .

Kotin reiterated that when there is no external power supply, diesel generators can kick in. “From today, the diesel generators can work for ten days.”

“We are also doing our best to secure additional supplies. But we understand that it is very difficult to bring anything there. The railway is damaged, so it can only be done by vehicles “, did he declare.
“If there is now a loss of external power, we will only have one option. Diesel generators,” he added.

Kotin said representatives of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), remained at the plant. “They have meetings with the factory management twice a day, so they have all the current information on how the factory is running,” he said.

As for the IAEA’s proposal for a safe zone around the plant, Kotin said, “We don’t understand exactly what this safe zone means.”

He repeated the line of the Ukrainian government that the plant should be returned to Ukrainian control and the plant itself and the area around it should be demilitarized.


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