Ukraine on Sunday said operations at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant have been completely halted.
The last of the Zaporizhzhia plant’s six reactors was disconnected from the power grid early at 3.41 a.m. (0041GMT), according to a statement by Energoatom, Ukraine’s atomic power operator.
“Preparations are underway for its cooling and transfer to a cold state,” the agency said.
Under Russian control since March, the plant in southeastern Ukraine was disconnected from the country’s power grid last Monday, amid growing concerns of a nuclear disaster as Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of attacks on the nuclear facility.
Energoatom said a power line was restored on Saturday to allow officials to “shut down power unit No. 6 and transfer it to the safest state - cold shutdown.”
The agency warned that the risk of more damage and outside power being cut again “remains high.”
In such a scenario, the plant will have to be “powered by diesel generators, the duration of which is limited by the technological resource and the amount of available diesel fuel,” the statement added.
Zaporizhzhia, one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world, generated 20% of Ukraine’s electricity before the war.
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led by its chief Rafael Grossi inspected the facility last week.
Briefing the UN Security Council on his report, Grossi said the damage wreaked by attacks on the facility was “simply unacceptable,” warning that it was like “playing with fire” and could lead to “something very catastrophic.”
The Energoatom statement also called on Russian forces to withdraw from the area and “create a demilitarized zone around it.”