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Main power line back up at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says

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A Russian all-terrain armoured vehicle, parked outside Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is seen during the IAEA expert mission to the Zaporizhzhia Region, Ukraine, 1 September, 2022.

One of Russia's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant's main power lines was repaired and is now supplying the plant with electricity from Ukraine two weeks after it crashed, the UN nuclear watchdog stated on Saturday (17 September).

Even though six reactors at Zaporizhzhia have been shut down, their fuel still needs cooling to prevent a catastrophic meltdown. The plant requires electricity to pump water through its core.

After the main line was cut, Zaporizhzhia's power supply became a major concern. Three back-up lines were then also cut that could connect it to a nearby coal fired power plant.

The plant was forced to enter "island mode", where it last operated reactor provided power. However, this mode is not sustainable. The reactor was also able to shut down after a backup power line was connected a week earlier.

The International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog stated in a statement that the main line was reconnected yesterday afternoon and that the three backup power lines were being again held in reserve.

It added that the three remaining main external 750kV (kilovolt), power lines that were damaged in conflict earlier are still down.

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Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the shelling at Zaporizhzhia's nuclear power plant (ZNPP), which has caused damage to buildings and disconnection of power lines.

The IAEA stated that while the ZNPP's power situation has improved in the last week, in stark contrast to earlier in the month when all power lines at the one stage were down and it relied on its last operating reactor to provide vital electricity supplies, the general situation for the plant in the middle of war zones remains precarious.

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