Status of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The IAEA said on Sunday that the levels of the Kakhovka reservoir near the Zaporizhzhia plant were sufficient to keep inlet water pumps operable, but said it would need access to the site to assess certain “discrepancies” in water height measurements.

All six VVER-1000 reactor units at Zaporizhzhia have been shut down since late 2022, meaning active cooling needs have decreased. Five of the units are in cold shutdown, requiring minimal cooling, while the sixth unit (Unit 5) is said to be still in hot shutdown despite calls by Ukraine’s regulator to transfer it to a cold state.

The cold shutdown of Unit 5 “is yet another issue that I need to discuss there”, Grossi said amid claims by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator that Russian forces do not allow operators to transfer the reactor unit to cold shutdown.

According to Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom, the water level of the Kakhaovka reservoir just outside of the Zaporizhzhia plant was nine metres at 14:00 local time today (Wednesday), the level of the local cooling pond was 16.67 metres, and the level at a canal inlet feeding water to the plant was 11.21 metres.

The measured level of 16.67 metres at the pond is enough to meet Zaporizhzhia’s needs, Energoatom said earlier this week.

Russia has been in control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, since its troops captured it in March 2022. On 6 June 2023, an explosion shattered the wall of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro river releasing a massive tidal wave over settlements located downstream.