In a video statement on Thursday, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has started providing onsite support to four more nuclear power plants in Ukraine in response to a request from the country.
The four additional plants are Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, South Ukraine and Chornobyl. Since September, IAEA experts have been providing onsite support for Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russian forces.
Following Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Ukraine's operational nuclear power plants of Zaporizhzhia, Rivne, South Ukraine and Khmelnytskyi were disconnected from the grid and forced to rely on emergency diesel generators for the electricity they needed to ensure their continued safety and security, Grossi said.
This unprecedented situation would have been unimaginable just months ago. He said it was deeply worrying.
We must do everything to prevent a nuclear accident at any of these nuclear facilities, which would only add to the terrible suffering we are already witnessing in Ukraine. In a statement, Energoatom said that Wednesday was the first time that Ukraine's four operational nuclear power plants were shut down in 40 years. Petro Kotin said it was a precautionary measure and he expected that they would be reconnected by Thursday evening. The three fully functioning plants in Ukrainian hands would help provide electricity to the national grid, he said.
According to the World Nuclear Association, Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy. It has 15 reactors at four plants that generated half of its electricity before Russia s full-scale invasion in February.
Russia has turned its attention to destroying energy infrastructure in Ukraine ahead of the bitter winter season, and successive wave of strikes have left much of the country facing rolling blackouts.