The barrage of Russian air strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure Wednesday caused a “blackout” in the country's power system, its energy minister told national television. It was the first time that all four of Ukraine’s nuclear plants were shut down at the same time, he said.
”We must understand the key thing: yesterday, as a result of shelling, there was a blackout in our power system,” Herman Halushchenko said Thursday.
“The situation is very difficult but, at 4 a.m., we managed to unite the power system. It is now working as a single unit and critical infrastructure facilities throughout the country have been powered.”
The authorities are now racing to restore electricity across the country.
“We will increase the volume of power being generated during the day,” Halushchenko said. “We expect that by the evening nuclear power plants will start working and supplying electricity to the grid. This will significantly reduce the deficit.”
Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, according to the World Nuclear Association. It has 15 reactors at four plants that, before Russia’s invasion in February, generated about half of its electricity.
Yesterday was “the first time that all four nuclear power plants were simultaneously shut down,” Halushchenko said.
Now all nuclear facilities – apart from the besieged plant in Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Ukraine – have been reconnected to the Ukrainian grid and will start to supply it with electricity today.
“If there is no new shelling, by the end of the day we will be able to significantly reduce the deficit in the power system due to nuclear generation and, accordingly, this will make it possible to proceed to scheduled outages,” the minister added.