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Ukraine Shuts Down Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant To Avoid Catastrophe

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest in not only Ukraine but all of Europe, has been shut down as a precaution, the operator of the plant, Eneregoatom, said this weekend.

The shutdown coincided with a Ukrainian advance to the East, which pushed Russian troops back from previously held positions. Following the advance, Ukraine accused Russia of targeting the grid in retaliation.

Russian troops took control of the Zaporizhia power plants early on in the war. In the past couple of months, the plant has been the target of shelling with the two sides accusing each other of doing the shelling.

The situation prompted a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts, who called on both sides to de-escalate the situation around the nuclear power plant.

Last week, Reuters reported on a draft resolution written by Polish and Canadian officials that would call on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhia at this week’s meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors.

Per the report, the resolution would call on Russia to "immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine, in order for the competent authorities to regain full control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine's international recognised borders."

Because of the threat of an accident, Energoatom said "a decision was made to shut down power unit No. 6 and transfer it to the safest state - cold shutdown." 

The shutdown has prompted concern about Ukraine’s electricity supply, although some have pointed out that the Ukrainian grid was disconnected from the Russian one immediately after the invasion and connected to the European grid ENTSO-E.

The IAEA mission to the Zaporizhia power plant, which took place earlier this month, called for a demilitarized zone around the facility.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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