Ukrainian officials at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant said it has been reconnected to the grid and is producing electricity for Ukraine again. The plant’s emergency protection systems had been activated following the disconnection of two operating reactor units due to shelling-damaged power lines.
“Zaporizhzhya NPP nuclear power professionals are real heroes,” the government-owned enterprise said in a press release. “They tirelessly and tightly hold the nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine and the whole of Europe on their shoulders, and they’re working selflessly to get their home country to have life-giving electricity.”
Zaporizhzhya NPP also said they have no comments on the operation of equipment and safety systems at the nuclear plant.
The news came shortly after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky urged world leaders to force Russia from the nuclear site after the incident, Reuters reports. He accused Russia of using the Zaporizhzhya plant as “unconcealed nuclear blackmail” in a video address on August 11.
The Ukrainian president described the situation with the Zaporizhzhya NPP as “one of the biggest crimes” of Russia, saying their enemy had “once again gone through another floor in the world history of terrorism.”
On March 5, Russian forces attacked Zaporizhzhya — Europe’s largest power plant — and a fire broke out, reported The Dallas Express. Russia’s actions brought back memories of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, raising global concerns about another potentially similar event.
On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to “nuclear saber-rattling,” saying the world is in a “maximum moment of danger” and that all countries with nuclear weapons must commit to “no first-use.”
Dialogue had recently led to an agreement on resuming grain and fertilizer shipments from Ukraine and Russia. Guterres said the same commitment to reason must be applied to “the critical situation” in Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine.
According to Zelensky, diesel generators were immediately activated to provide energy to the plant to support it following the shutdown.
“If the automation and our staff of the plant had not reacted after the blackout, then we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of the radiation accident.”
The Ukrainian president said, “every minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster.”
Russia’s foreign ministry stated in Moscow that it was doing everything possible to ensure the safety of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visit to the plant in a few days, Reuters reports. Russian Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharov said Ukraine was trying to disrupt such a visit by attacking the plant and blaming Russia because it does not want the IAEA to visit.