Live Updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

A Russian soldier patrols the grounds of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Energodar, May 1, 2022 (Andrey Borodulin/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency said today that one of the main power lines at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been repaired and is once again supplying electricity to the plant from the Ukrainian grid.

Ukraine relies heavily on nuclear power — about half of its electricity comes from 15 nuclear reactors at four plants across the country, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The Russian-controlled plant, which includes six reactors, is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It was built mostly in the Soviet era and became a Ukrainian property after declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Zaporizhzhia factory is located on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Ukraine. The area and the nuclear complex have been under Russian control since the beginning of the war, but the plant is still mostly run by Ukrainian workers.

Replacing each of the Zaporizhia reactors would cost $7 billion, making the plant a target for the Russians to seize it unscathed, hoping to serve their electricity market, according to an analysis by Defense and Security Intelligence. If Russia maintains this, Ukraine will lose 20% of its capacity to generate electricity domestically.

What does its position on the front line mean?

According to local reports, shelling is common in the surrounding towns as well as near the power plant.

Ukraine and Russia accused each other of bombing the site. CNN cannot independently verify either government’s allegations.

The international community has been on high alert about nuclear safety, but experts believe a Chernobyl-style disaster is unlikely. However, there are still risks, one of which is potential damage to nuclear waste stored outdoors – in water vats and in barrels, according to Petro Kotin, president of Energoatom, which operates nuclear power plants in Ukraine.

Visit the International Atomic Energy Agency

On September 1, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the station for the first time since the Russian invasion on February 24. The team saw damage to the roofs of various buildings, in the private building that houses new nuclear fuel and a solid radioactive waste storage. facility. They also witnessed shelling during the visit and called on both sides to stop hostilities in the area.

Since then, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has called for the establishment of a nuclear safety zone around the plant and the surrounding area. Two members of the International Atomic Energy Agency remain at the site.

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