Ukraine’s Largest Nuclear Plant Enters Cold Shutdown Amidst Catastrophic Flooding and Ongoing Conflict with Russia


This action comes as Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine enters its 16th month, with continued attacks by Russian forces.

Nuclear Plant Enters Cold Shutdown
Nuclear Plant Enters Cold Shutdown ( Photo: The Guardian )

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, has been placed in a “cold shutdown” as a precautionary measure due to severe flooding

The Ukrainian nuclear agency, Energoatom, announced on Friday that the last operating reactor at the Zaporizhzhia plant has been put into cold shutdown. This shutdown involves inserting control rods into the reactor core to halt the nuclear fission reaction and reduce heat and pressure generation. Already, five out of the six reactors at the plant, which is currently occupied by Russian forces, have been in a state of cold shutdown.

While the breach of the Kakhovka dam downstream from the Dnieper River has caused severe flooding and displacement of thousands of people, Energoatom stated that there is “no direct threat” to the Zaporizhzhia plant. However, the flooding has significantly reduced water levels in a reservoir used for cooling the facility. In addition to the flooding, the decision to enter a cold shutdown was influenced by shelling near the plant that damaged overhead power lines connecting it to Ukraine’s energy system.

The temperatures and pressure inside the reactors gradually decrease, requiring less intensive water cooling of the radioactive fuel

This ensures the plant operates in the safest mode. Although the power units at the site have not been operational since September last year, Energoatom employees are still present at the plant, despite it being under Russian control.

Meanwhile, Russian forces have intensified their attacks on Ukraine, using Iranian-made Shahed drones, missiles, and artillery strikes. Ukrainian authorities reported at least four civilian deaths, including two children and a pregnant woman, as well as numerous injuries. The Ukrainian air force claimed to have shot down a significant number of drones and missiles launched by Russian forces.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to visit Ukraine in the near future to assess the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.


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