As a safety precaution, all operations at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant owned by Russia’s Zaporizhzhia have been suspended, according to Energoatom, the government organization in control of the facility.
At 3:41 a.m. (0041 GMT), the agency cut the number six power unit from the grid, causing the plant to “completely stop,” according to a statement. Its cooling and transfer to a cold state are being prepared for.
The largest plant in Europe was surrounded by Russian-occupied neighborhoods on Wednesday, and Kyiv requested that everyone leave for their own safety.
Both Russia and Ukraine accuse the other of launching missiles at the nuclear facility, endangering the facility.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, has asked for the demilitarization of the surrounding territory.
In order to allow the plant to be powered by Ukraine’s energy system, Energoatom claimed that on Saturday it repaired a communications line to the power system that it claimed had been harmed by Russian bombardment.
“Therefore, a decision was made to shut down power unit No. 6 and transfer it to the safest state – cold shutdown,” it said.
It said the risk of further damage to the line “remains high,” which would force the plant to be “powered by diesel generators, the duration of which is limited by the technological resource and the amount of available diesel fuel.”
Later on Sunday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that a backup power line to the plant controlled by Russia had been reconnected, giving it access to the external electricity it requires to cool its reactors and protect against the possibility of a meltdown.