Overnight, Ukraine reported the severing of two power lines linking its electricity grid to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, heightening the risk of a potential “incident.” The facility, a focal point of conflict since its capture by Russian forces last year, has seen both sides levying accusations of jeopardizing its safety.

“In response to the extensive blackout, the nuclear power plant initiated self-sustenance, relying on 20 diesel generators,” stated Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator.

The plant teetered “on the brink of a nuclear and radiation incident” before Kyiv reinstated off-site power, averting a potential catastrophe, according to official statements.

“The critical situation was averted thanks to the swift intervention of Ukrainian experts who reinstated power supply to the plant from the national grid,” reported the Ukrainian nuclear energy operator.

AFP has not independently verified Ukraine’s account of the events.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) acknowledged on Saturday that the plant experienced a temporary loss of off-site power, marking the eighth such blackout since the conflict’s onset. Further details from the IAEA are anticipated.

IAEA officials have been closely monitoring the plant’s safety, emphasizing the need for ongoing maintenance to prevent overheating.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, housing six reactors, has faced relentless shelling and drone attacks over the course of the 21-month conflict. In September 2022, the plant ceased its electricity supply to Ukraine’s grid.

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