Ukraine’s atomic energy operator said the last reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant had been shut down after the plant was reconnected to the electricity grid.
The six-reactor Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected from the grid last week after all its power lines were cut following fighting in the area, and operated in “island mode” for several days, generating electricity for critical cooling systems from its only remaining operating reactor.
Energoatom said one of the power lines was restored late Saturday, allowing plant operators to shut down the last reactor.
The company said the risk remains high that outside power will be cut again, in which case the plant will have to switch on emergency diesel generators to keep the reactors cool and prevent a nuclear meltdown.
The head of Energoatom told The Associated Press on Thursday that the plant will only have diesel fuel for 10 days.
The plant, one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world, has been occupied by Russian forces since the start of the war. Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for bombing the plant which damaged the power lines connecting it to the grid.
In a statement on Sunday morning, Energoatom urged Russian forces to vacate the plant and allow the creation of a “demilitarized zone” around it.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog which has two experts on the plant, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Its manager called for a safety zone around the factory to avoid a disaster.