Skip to content
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi (R) in Sochi, Russia on March 6, 2024. (Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Russian President Vladimir Putin told nuclear safety experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that he wants to restart the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the Wall Street Journal reported on April 12.

The six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility, have been shut down since September 2022 due to safety concerns. The plant is located near the front lines and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the IAEA received reports from inspectors stationed at the plant indicating that Russia wants to restart at least one of the ZNPP reactors sometime this year. One diplomat said Russia may aim to bring the plant online in time for the 40th anniversary of the facility's connection to the Soviet Union's electrical grid in December.

During IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi's meeting with Putin in Russia in March, Grossi asked the Russian president directly if the plant would be restarted, according to people familiar with the talks.

Putin told Grossi it would, but did not specify a timetable.

Multiple people who have worked at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant told the Wall Street Journal that Russia lacks the necessary personnel to restart the reactors safely. The move would also heighten the dangers at a nuclear facility that already faces severe risks in an active military zone.

Media: Ukrainian military intelligence denies involvement in drone explosion at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
“Ukraine is not involved in any armed provocations on the territory of the illegally occupied nuclear plant,” the spokesperson Andrii Yusov said, adding that Russian false flag strikes were a frequent occurrence.

These dangers recently led the IAEA to call an extraordinary meeting in Vienna on April 11 at the request of Ukraine and Russia following reports of drone attacks on the plant.

Grossi called the strikes a "major escalation" in nuclear danger in Ukraine.

Bringing even one reactor at the ZNPP back online would mean raising the core temperature at the plant by hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit, and experts doubt whether Russia has enough technicians and resources to manage the transition.

"You can't just recruit these people off the street and tell them how to go run a power plant," said U.S.-based nuclear oversight officer Morgan D. Libby, who worked at plants in the former Soviet Union, including the ZNPP.

"I think they're kidding themselves that they have sufficient numbers of people to run a unit."

Ukraine's nuclear energy agency Energoatom has said that the only way to prevent nuclear and radiation emergencies is to comply with the IAEA's demands for military restraint, withdraw Russian troops and their equipment from the plant, demine nearby territories, and return control over the plant to the agency.

Locals near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant brace for potential disaster: ‘It would be the end of us’
Editor’s note: For this story, the Kyiv Independent talked to residents who live in Russian-occupied settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. For their safety, we have changed their names. From the rooftop of his home, Anton can easily see the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear plant…
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
11:54 AM

Russian attack on Sumy Oblast kills 2.

A Russian rocket attack on the village of Krasnopillia in Sumy Oblast killed two civilians and injured three others, Sumy Oblast Military Administration reported on May 29.
12:56 AM

Macron: Ukraine must be allowed to strike bases on Russian territory from which missiles are fired.

"We think that we should allow them to neutralize military sites where missiles are fired, from where... Ukraine is attacked," Macron said at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "If we tell them (Ukraine) that you are not allowed to target the place from which missiles are fired, we are in fact telling them that we are providing you with weapons but you cannot defend yourself."
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.