Russian shelling on the morning of May 22 has severed the last remaining external power line to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Ukraine's nuclear energy company Energoatom said.
The nuclear plant, located near Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia Oblast is now reportedly running on backup diesel generators, which can only last up to 10 days, according to the company. External power supply is vital for the operation of the nuclear fuel cooling pumps in the holding pools and nuclear reactors.
"It is impossible to renew the station's external power supply at this time, an accident with radiation consequences for the whole world may occur," Energoatom said.
In a comment to Reuters, Energoatom said: "Yes, we have the seventh blackout since the start of the (Russian) occupation." The company added that the Russian forces' "untrained" management may lead to "irreperable" damage.
Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Yurii Malashko noted that "problems with electricity supply" in the city of Zaporizhzhia, however, are unrelated to the shelling.
"Nuclear safety situation at the plant extremely vulnerable. We must agree to protect plant now; this situation cannot continue," Rafael Grossi, the director of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), wrote on Twitter.
Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station, and the city of Enerhodar since March 4, 2022.