Drones strike forest bordering nuclear power plant in Ukraine

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed by the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine that several drones struck locations in the vicinity of the site on July 3, injuring workers and causing forest fires. 

The IAEA experts stationed at the ZNPP said they saw thick smoke and heard explosions coming from near the plant’s 750 kilovolt (kV) switchyard after they were told that drones had hit an adjacent forest, starting fires in windy conditions. 

This latest incident presents a further risk to nuclear safety as the ZNPP’s sole remaining 750 kV power line supplies the off-site electricity the plant needs to cool its six reactors in cold shutdown and for other essential nuclear safety and security functions. At present, the 750kV power line as well as a back-up 330 kV line are still available, but the situation remains precarious.

Near the town of Enerhodar three drone strikes, starting at 10:40am local time on July 3, hit one of its electrical sub-stations, injuring eight workers, one of whom required medical care, the ZNPP said. The IAEA experts were informed that the alleged impact also caused an oil leak from at least one of the two sub-station transformers, damaged the top of one of them as well as a connection line. As a result, the affected sub-station – Raduga – is currently out of service, but Enerhodar and an adjacent industrial area are still receiving electricity. 

In June, Enerhodar was left without electricity for 16 hours after reported drone strikes on the Raduga and Luch sub-stations. In early April, drone strikes also hit the ZNPP site. The site is said to currently be under Russian control.

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