The CEO of Ukraine’s state-owned electric company Ukrenergo, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, announced on Thursday that the Rivne, South Ukrainian, and Khmelnytsky nuclear power plants were operational again. On Wednesday, following a blistering Russian missile bombardment, all nuclear plants in Ukraine lost external power for the first time in history, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi announced. Nuclear power provides a substantial part of Ukraine’s electricity.
Kudrytskyi said the output at the three plants would return to normal within a few days.
“All three nuclear plants located on the controlled territory of Ukraine are already in operation, and they are gaining power,” Kudrytskyi said in the appearance on national television. “After that, we will have the same or in a similar amount of generation to the one we had there a few days ago.”
The IAEA confirmed Kudrytskyi’s claim shortly thereafter.
“Ukraine’s 4 operational nuclear power plants all have access to the [Ukrainian national] grid again following a complete loss of off-site power this week,” it said.
In recent months, Russia has switched to a strategy of attrition, relentlessly attacking Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches in an attempt to cripple the country. But while the electrical grid had been hit, the country’s nuclear power plants under its control had remained mostly untouched. The recent cutting off of the plants was a first in the conflict.
Officials estimate that around 50% of Ukraine’s energy facilities have been damaged in recent strikes, the Associated Press reported. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on Friday that “there is not a single thermal and hydroelectric power station that has not been fired upon,” adding that electricity accounts for 70% of all consumption needs in the country, TASS reported.
“Almost all critical infrastructure in the country is connected [to electricity]: water utilities, sewerage systems, heating and communal energy, boiler houses, hospitals, gas distribution infrastructure, mines. 200-400,000 consumers are de-energized in each region at certain hours,” he added.
The United Nations strongly condemned the recent attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, particularly the cutting off of the country’s nuclear power plants.
“This would have been completely unimaginable before this tragic war. It is extremely concerning. All military action threatening the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities must stop immediately,” Grossi said in a statement.