Europe avoids nuclear meltdown as power back on at Zaporizhzhia plant

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Ukraine has averted a nuclear catastrophe after successfully reconnecting the Zaporizhzhia plant (ZNPP) to the national grid. The situation had become critical after shelling in the area damaged power cables connected to the nuclear power station. Scientists at the plant have placed all six reactors into a cold shutdown.

However, the fuel in them still needs cooling to avoid a catastrophic meltdown.

This is done by pumping water through the reactors’ core.

The pumps in turn require electricity to be able to function, with any disruption to the process potentially being fatal.

Concerns have been raised about the power supply to the nuclear plant ever since the last main line went down two weeks ago.

The ZNPP had to first of all rely on electricity produced by the plant itself and then on back-up power lines linking it to the grid through the electrical switchyard of a nearby thermal power plant.

On Saturday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the situation had stabilised now that one of the four main external power lines had been repaired.

They revealed the Zaporizhzhia plant was once again receiving electricity directly from the national grid.

The IAEA tweeted: “#Ukraine’s #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is once again receiving electricity directly from national grid after engineers repaired one of the four main external power lines that have all been damaged during the conflict, IAEA learnt at the site today.”

They added: “With the main line’s re-connection yesterday afternoon, the three backup power lines are again being held in reserve.

“The three other main external 750 kV power lines that were lost earlier during the conflict remain down.”

The atomic facility is one of the ten biggest nuclear power stations in the world.

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The plant was captured by Russian troops on March 4, in the early days of the war which began on February 24.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of placing military equipment and ammunition at the plant, as well as shelling the surrounding area.

It comes as Putin vowed to continue his war in Ukraine and warned that Moscow could ramp up its strikes on the country’s vital infrastructure during a press conference in Uzbekistan.

He reiterated that Russia’s goal remained the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbas region, despite the significant setbacks suffered by his army over the past week or so.

Russian forces were forced to retreat from most of Kharkiv region after Kyiv launched its lightning counterattack in the north east of the country earlier in the month.

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Putin’s army has been forced to establish makeshift defensive lines along the Oskil River in eastern Kharkiv province, as it seeks to prevent Ukraine’s army from making advances into the Donbas.

However, Putin is still insisting on carrying out attacks near Donetsk city, despite the precarious situation on the Oskil River.

Analysts for the Institute for the Study of War argued that Russian attacks on Bakhmut and various villages near Donetsk City were pointless and potentially self-defeating.

They wrote: “The Russians are apparently directing some of the very limited reserves available in Ukraine to these efforts rather than to the vulnerable Russian defensive lines hastily thrown up along the Oskil River in eastern Kharkiv Oblast.

“The Russians cannot hope to make gains around Bakhmut or Donetsk City on a large enough scale to derail Ukrainian counteroffensives and appear to be continuing an almost robotic effort to gain ground in Donetsk Oblast that seems increasingly divorced from the overall realities of the theatre.”



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