The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has been disconnected from its last external power line. However, the facility is still managing to supply electricity to the grid through a reserve line.
Both Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of repeatedly shelling the plant. The UN’s IAEA warns that damage to the facility could lead to a nuclear disaster.
In 2021, more than half (55.5 percent) of Ukraine’s electricity was produced with nuclear power, followed by coal (23.6 percent), hydropower (6.7 percent) and gas (6.6 percent).
Ukraine has 16 nuclear reactors across four nuclear power plants (NPPs). Zaporizhzhia accounts for nearly half of the total electricity generated by Ukraine’s NPPs and one-fifth (20 percent) of its annual electricity production.
Zaporizhzhia is strategically important to Russia because it is only about 200km (125 miles) from Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. The plant was captured by Russian forces in March but is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.
It is located in the southern Ukrainian steppe on the Dnieper River, 550km (342 miles) southeast of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and 525km (325 miles) south of Chornobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident in 1986.