Ukrainian nuclear plant restored after first ever cutoff

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — A nuclear power plant in the middle of the fighting in Ukraine was temporarily knocked offline because of damage to a transmission line, state nuclear company Energoatom said Thursday.

According to the company, fires in the ash pits of a coal power station interfered with the power supply to the station’s two last working reactors, disconnecting them from the network.

It’s the first time the plant has been knocked off the grid since it was built, causing a blackout in the region Thursday and heightening fears of a catastrophe in a country still haunted by the Chernobyl disaster.

The plant, Europe’s largest nuclear facility, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war.

Ukraine says Russia is holding the plant hostage by using it to store weapons. Similarly, Energoatom engineers, who are still operating the plant, blame the unprecedented cutoff from the grid on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24.

“The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the (nuclear power plant) from the power grid  — the first in the history of the plant,” it said.

Russia, however, accuses Ukraine of creating the problems by recklessly firing on it.

NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” brought on Major General William l. Enyart to discuss what the fallout from the event may be. Enyart says no matter who is at fault, the event is very concerning.

As a result of the Chernobyl disaster in the late ’80s in Ukraine, radioactivity “spewed all over Western Europe. The same thing could happen and it would be far worse,” he said.

Watch the rest of the interview above.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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