The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine had to switch to backup generators after losing all power during the biggest reported missile attack in weeks.
It was the first time the site lost all power since November 2022 but the sixth time all off-site power was cut since the Russian invasion last February, according to the UN’s atomic energy agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Power was restored after 11 hours of being completely disconnected.
This is after Russian missiles battered civilian infrastructure across many parts of Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv.
🇺🇦’s #Zaporizhzhya NPP suffered 11 hours of complete external power loss today, having to rely on emergency diesel generators for the 6th time during the military conflict in the country. Power line was reconnected around 4pm local time. https://t.co/0V5NRPlbvW pic.twitter.com/auAvvQEYu3
— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency ⚛️ (@iaeaorg) March 9, 2023
Power infrastructure was heavily affected, leaving nearly 40% of the people in Kyiv without heat and 15% of homes and businesses without electricity, according to the authorities.
Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant since the full-scale invasion last year. Despite this, Ukrainian civilians continue to operate the plant under the watch of the Russian military, with IAEA experts present.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said: “Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.
“There is enough diesel on site for 15 days,” he said – but warned that the situation remains critical.
He labelled inaction from the rest of the world “complacency,” which he was stunned by.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for the full demilitarisation of the entire area around Zaporizhzhya while in Kyiv on Wednesday.