NIKOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainians are once again anxious about the fate of a nuclear power plant in a land that was home to the world’s worst atomic accident in 1986 at Chernobyl — and alarm only increased Thursday when the plant operator said the facility has been cut off from the electrical grid.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war, and continued fighting near the facility has heightened fears of a catastrophe that could affect nearby towns in southern Ukraine — or potentially an even wider region.
On Thursday, the plant was cut off from the power grid for the first time after fires damaged the only working transmission line, according to Ukraine’s nuclear power operator. It was not clear if the plant had been reconnected. As long as it remains off the grid, it will have to rely on emergency diesel generators to run cooling systems that are essential for the safe operation of the reactors.