The last of the six reactors of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZAES) was put into the so-called cold shutdown, which is the safest operating mode. This measure was taken in view of the catastrophic flooding caused by the damage to the Kachovská dam, as well as the ongoing shelling near the power plant, the AP agency reported on Saturday.
As the Ukrainian state company Enerhoatom said in a statement published on Friday evening, the cold shutdown of the sixth of the ZAES reactors took place already on Thursday.
In cold shutdown mode, all control rods are inserted into the reactor core to stop the process of nuclear fission and the generation of heat and pressure. Until now, five ZAES reactor units were in this mode, while the sixth was in the so-called hot shutdown.
At the same time, Enerhoatom stated that the destruction of the Kachovská Dam does not currently represent ZAES “direct threat”. The fact that the line connecting the plant to the Ukrainian power grid was damaged as a result of the shelling also contributed to the switching of the sixth reactor into cold shutdown mode.
Ukraine will be visited next week by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, who, in addition to Kyiv, will also visit the Zaporozhye power plant. On Friday, Grossi expressed concern over “increased military activities” in the vicinity of this largest nuclear power plant in Europe, which is occupied by Russian troops, but is still staffed by Ukrainian Enerhoatom employees.
On Friday evening, the IAEA also expressed concern in connection with the continuing drop in the water level in the water tank used to cool the reactors of the Zaporozhye power plant. This decrease was caused by the destruction of the Kachovská water reservoir dam on the Dnieper River on June 6. Nevertheless, ZAES apparently has enough water to ensure cooling for several weeks or months.