PARIS: France on Thursday (9th of March, 2023) warned of the unacceptable risk for nuclear safety and security from power cuts at a major Ukrainian power plant, after a Russian missile strike left it running on diesel generators.
“France has taken note and is concerned over information of a new disconnection (from the grid) at the Zaporizhzhia plant,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said.
Electricity is essential to operate pumps that circulate water to cool reactors and pools holding nuclear fuel at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The disruption came during a fresh wave of pre-dawn Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure across the country.
The plant is being powered by generators, which can provide the facility’s energy needs for 10 days, Ukrainian nuclear energy operator Energoatom has said.
The UN nuclear agency’s chief warned earlier on Thursday of the danger of repeated electricity cuts at the site.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said it was the sixth time the Zaporizhzhia facility had been cut off from the electricity grid since Russia captured it a year ago, and the first time since November.
Grossi has been in consultations with Kyiv and Moscow for several months to try to set up a protection zone around the plant, but the talks appear to have stalled.
France “will continue to support IAEA action towards ensuring nuclear security and safety in Ukraine and in particular its director general towards establishing a protection zone around the station,” Legendre said.