Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

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Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station
Kernkraftwerk Saporischschja.JPG
Two cooling towers at left (one largely obscured by the other) and the six reactor buildings viewed from the Nikopol shore. The large building between the cooling towers and the reactors, and the two tall smokestacks, are at the Zaporizhzhia thermal power station, beyond the nuclear plant.
Official nameЗапорізька атомна електростанція
LocationEnerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast
Coordinates47°30′30″N 34°35′04″E / 47.50833°N 34.58444°E / 47.50833; 34.58444Coordinates: 47°30′30″N 34°35′04″E / 47.50833°N 34.58444°E / 47.50833; 34.58444
Construction beganUnit 1: 1 April 1980
Unit 2: 1 January 1981
Unit 3: 1 April 1982
Unit 4: 1 April 1983
Unit 5: 1 November 1985
Unit 6: 1 June 1986
Commission dateUnit 1: 25 December 1985
Unit 2: 15 February 1986
Unit 3: 5 March 1987
Unit 4: 14 April 1988
Unit 5: 27 October 1989
Unit 6: 17 September 1996
Owner(s)Energoatom (De jure)
Rosatom (De facto)
Operator(s)Energoatom (De jure)
Rosatom (De facto)
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierAtomstroyexport
Cooling towers2
Cooling sourceKakhovka Reservoir
Thermal capacity6 × 3000 MWth
Power generation
Nameplate capacity5700 MW
Capacity factor58.68%
External links[dead link]
Annotated 27 February 2022 Landsat 9 photograph of Zaporizhzia Nuclear Power Plant
1–6.Reactor units 1–6
7.Electricity pylons
8.Training building shelled
9.Radioactive waste storage
10.Cooling pond
11.Cooling towers
12.Kakhovka Reservoir

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station (Ukrainian: Запорізька атомна електростанція, romanizedZaporiz'ka atomna elektrostantsiya, Russian: Запорожская атомная электростанция, romanizedZaporozhskaya atomnaya elektrostantsiya) in southeastern Ukraine is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. It was built by the Soviet Union near the city of Enerhodar, on the southern shore of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper river. It is operated by Energoatom, who also operate Ukraine's other three nuclear power stations.

The plant has six VVER-1000 pressurized light water nuclear reactors (PWR), each fuelled with 235U (LEU)[1] and generating 950 MWe, for a total power output of 5,700 MWe.[2] The first five were successively brought online between 1985 and 1989, and the sixth was added in 1995. The plant generates nearly half of the country's electricity derived from nuclear power,[3] and more than a fifth of total electricity generated in Ukraine.[4] The Zaporizhzhia thermal power station is nearby.

On 4 March 2022, the nuclear and thermal power stations were both captured by Russian forces during the Battle of Enerhodar of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[5][6][7][8] As of 12 March 2022 the plant is reportedly controlled by the Russian company Rosatom.[9] The plant continued to be operated by Ukrainian staff, under Russian control,[10] until 11 September 2022, when the sixth reactor was disconnected.[11]


The spent nuclear fuel is stored in cooling pools inside the reactor containments for up to five years. It is then transferred to an on-site dry cask storage facility that was commissioned in 2004.[12][13] The reactors and spent fuel pools depend on water from the Kakhovka Reservoir for cooling. The reservoir is created by the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam, which is a main conflict location of the two war participants.[14][15]

The electricity generated is supplied to the Ukrainian grid through four 750kV overhead transmission lines and one 330kV line.[13] One of the 750kV lines runs northwards across the Kakhovka Reservoir and on to the Dniprovska substation just south of Vilnohirsk in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. The last-built of the 750kV lines runs 186 km south-westward to the Kakhovska substation just west of Nova Kakhovka and was commissioned in 2021.[12] The 330kV line runs to the neighbouring thermal power station.[16]

In 2017, modernization work was completed on reactor unit 3, enabling a 10-year life extension to 2027.[3] In 2021, modernization work was completed on unit 5, enabling a 10-year life extension.[17]


2014 intrude attempt by insurgent

In May 2014, 40 armed members claiming to be representatives of Right Sector allegedly tried to gain access to the power plant area.[18] The men were stopped by the Ukrainian police before entering into Enerhodar.

The Zaporizhzhia power plant is located around 200 km away from the War in Donbas combat zone, where fighting became intense in 2014. On 31 August 2014, a Greenpeace member, Tobias Münchmeyer, expressed concerns the plant could be hit by heavy artillery from the fighting.

On 3 December 2014, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk announced the occurrence of an incident several days before at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.[19] The cause of the incident was reported as a short circuit in the power outlet system and was not linked to the site's production.[20] One of the six reactors of the plant was shut down twice in December 2014.[21] This and lack of coal for Ukraine's coal-fired power stations led to rolling blackouts throughout the country from early until late December 2014.[21]

2022 Russian capture

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February 2022, Energoatom shut down Units 5 and 6 to reduce risk, keeping Units 1 to 4 in operation on 25 February.[22]

At 11:28 pm local time on 3 March 2022, a column of 10 Russian armored vehicles and two tanks approached the power plant.[23][24] Fighting commenced at 12:48am on 4 March when Ukraine forces fired anti-tank missiles. Russian forces responded with a variety of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades.[23] During approximately two hours of heavy combat, a fire broke out in a training facility outside the main complex, which was extinguished by 6:20am,[25][26][27] though other sections surrounding the plant sustained damage.[23][28] The fire did not impact reactor safety or any essential equipment.[28][29][27] The plant lost 1.3 GW of capacity.[30] It was later learned that a large caliber bullet pierced an outer wall of Reactor No. 4 and an artillery shell hit a transformer at Reactor No. 6.[31]

Ukrayinska Pravda reported on 12 March that the plant's management was told by Russian authorities that the plant now belonged to Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear power company.[9] It continued to operate and supply data, including from a remote monitoring system, to the IAEA.[32] It continued to be operated by Ukrainian staff, under Russian control.[10]

Since July, the situation has escalated significantly, leading to an ongoing crisis. On 3 September an IAEA delegation visited the plant and on 6 September a report was published documenting damage and potential threats to plant security caused by external shelling and the presence of occupying troops in the plant.[33][34]

On 11 September 2022, the final reactor was disconnected, as the plant entered cold shut down to minimize war risks caused by continued shelling.[11]

With declared annexation of Zaporizhya oblast Russia also declared legal takeover of the plant, while the actual control over its operations continued to be unclear as of October 2022. Russian forces detained a number of plant's Ukrainian employees, starting from its deputy director Valery Martynyuk, his assistant Oleh Oshek and then IT manager Oleh Kostyukov, without providing any justification for the kidnappings.[35][36]

See also


  1. ^ Kosourov, E.; Pavlov, V.; Pavlovcev, A.; Spirkin, E. (2003), Improved VVER-1000 fuel cycle (PDF), Moscow, Russia: RRC Kurchatov Institute, retrieved 5 March 2022
  2. ^ "Nuclear Power Plants in Lithuania & Ukraine". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Zaporozhe 3 enters next 10 years of operation". World Nuclear News. 7 November 2017. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  4. ^ "SS "Zaporizhzhia NPP"". Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  5. ^ Polityuk, Pavel; Vasovic, Aleksandar; Irish, John (4 March 2022). "Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguished". Reuters. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  6. ^ Daniel Ten Kate, David Stringer (4 March 2022). "Russian Forces Occupy Site of Nuclear Plant as Fire Contained". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  7. ^ Boynton, Sean (4 March 2022). "Russian troops capture Europe's largest power plant in Ukraine after intense battle". Global News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Russia Seizes Ukraine Nuclear Plant Hours After Attack: 10 Points". Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b Petrenko, Roman (12 March 2022). "Invaders seize Zaporizhzhia power plant and claims it is part of Rosatom". Ukrayinska Pravda. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b Lederer, Edith M. (3 August 2022). "UN nuclear chief: Ukraine nuclear plant is 'out of control'". AP News. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant halts operations in Ukraine". ABC News. 11 September 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine". Power Technology. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant". NS Energy. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Factbox: Is the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine about to be blown?". Reuters. 21 October 2022. Archived from the original on 23 October 2022.
  15. ^ "Kakhovka hydro dam: A strategic facility for Crimea". France 24. 21 October 2022. Archived from the original on 22 October 2022.
  16. ^ "Zaporizhzhya power plant in Ukraine: Arrangements in the event of a total loss of external power supplies". IRSN. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Energoatom marks life extension of Ukraine's Zaporozhye 5". Nuclear Engineering International. 1 February 2021. Archived from the original on 19 October 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  18. ^ Охорона ЗАЕС заблокувала групу озброєних осіб [ZNPP security blocked a group of armed men]. Ukrinform (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 21 July 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Ukraine Reports Accident At Nuclear Power Plant, But Says Poses No Danger". Huffington Post. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Ukraine energy minister says 'no threat' from accident at nuclear plant". Reuters. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  21. ^ a b Ukraine turns off reactor at its most powerful nuclear plant after 'accident' Archived 19 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Independent (28 December 2014)
    Ukraine Briefly Cuts Power to Crimea Amid Feud With Russia Over NATO Archived 29 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine, New York Times (24 December 2014)
    Coal import to help avoid rolling blackouts in Ukraine — energy minister Archived 8 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, ITAR-TASS (31 December 2014)
    Rolling blackouts in Ukraine after nuclear plant accident Archived 31 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine, Mashable (3 December 2014)
    Ukraine to Import Coal From ‘Far Away’ as War Curtails Mines Archived 9 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Bloomberg News (31 December 2014)
  22. ^ Kraev, Kamen (25 February 2022). "Energoatom shuts down Zaporozhye-5 and −6 as rest of fleet remains safe and operational". NucNet. Archived from the original on 25 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  23. ^ a b c "Video analysis reveals Russian attack on Ukrainian nuclear plant veered near disaster". NPR. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Security Council debates Russian strike on Ukraine nuclear power plant". UN News. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  25. ^ "Ukraine nuclear power plant attack: All you need to know". Al Jazeera. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  26. ^ Update on the human rights situation in Ukraine (Reporting period: 24 February – 26 March) United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
  27. ^ a b Campbell, Charlie (21 April 2022). "As Putin threatens nuclear disaster, Europe learns to embrace nuclear energy again". Time. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  28. ^ a b "IAEA appeal after shelling and fire at Zaporozhe". World Nuclear News. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  29. ^ "IAEA Director General Grossi's initiative to travel to Ukraine". 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  30. ^ "TPP compensates for the shutdown of Zaporizhzhya NPP". 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  31. ^ Santora, Marc; Kramer, Andrew E. (23 August 2022). "In Ukraine, a nuclear plant held hostage". New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  32. ^ "Ukraine says any IAEA visit to occupied Zaporizhzhia 'unacceptable'". World Nuclear News. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  33. ^ "Factbox: Seven recommendations the IAEA makes in its Ukraine report". Reuters. 6 September 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  34. ^ "Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine: 28 April - 5 September 2022" (PDF). IAEA. 6 September 2022. pp. 13–16, 46–48. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  35. ^ "Two Zaporizhzhia NPP employees reportedly abducted by Russian forces". Meduza. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  36. ^ News, A. B. C. "2nd kidnapping reported at Ukraine nuclear power plant amid 'unacceptable' conditions". ABC News. Retrieved 18 October 2022. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)

External links