Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, has once again lost its electricity supply, energy operator Ukrenergo said Monday.
Separately, Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom on Monday accused the Russian military of detonating ammunition at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in the country’s south.
“The power line that supplies the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station and the town of Slavutych was damaged by the occupying forces,” Ukrenergo said on Facebook, after Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24 and seized the power station in the first days of the assault.
The retired Chernobyl nuclear reactors — enclosed in a giant steel and concrete sarcophagus — lost power early last week but supply was restored Sunday.
The power station has emergency diesel generators that can kick in when electricity is needed to power security systems including the cooling systems for the spent nuclear fuel storage facility, Ukraine’s nuclear power inspection body SNRIU said last week.
Ukrenergo said the power line had been damaged again “before the power supply had been fully restored” and that one of its repair crews will be going into “occupied territory” again for more repairs.
The operator added that Chernobyl “cannot be left without a reliable energy supply” and the residents of the nearby town of Slavutych “depend” on it for electricity.
The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant killed hundreds and spread a radioactive cloud across Europe.
On March 4, Russian forces shelled and captured the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s biggest nuclear power station, raising alarm in Europe over a possible nuclear catastrophe.
Ukraine’s Energoatom accused the Russian military of detonating ammunition near a reactor.
“And they are continuing to conduct explosions at Europe’s largest nuclear facility,” Energoatom said on messaging app Telegram, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to take action.
It said it was currently unclear if radiation levels had changed at the station.
Energoatom also claimed that 11 representatives of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom were currently at the Zaporizhzhia plant and taking part in the explosions, accusing Rosatom of violating “all established international rules and requirements of nuclear and radiation safety.”