The Potential Restart of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: analysis of technical and political aspects

Authors: Dmitry Gorchakov, Alexander Nikitin

Publisher: Bellona Foundation, Vilnius

The report examines Rosatom's preparations for the restart of ZNPP, as well as the associated risks

In recent months, The Russian nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, which is deeply involved in the war in Ukraine, has taken worrying steps toward restarting reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Ever since the takeover, the world has stood by, unable to exert influence on the unprecedented emergency of a nuclear power plant taken hostage by military force. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while allowed to send observers, has no levers of power to dissuade the Russian side from restarting the plant’s reactors amid an active war. Ukrainian objections have, of course, been ignored.

The recent statements from Russian officials and the activities of Russia’s technical oversight agency within Ukraine indicate that the plant’s Russia occupiers might move to restart at least one of the reactor units sometime this year.

As we show in our new report, any initiative to restart the plant’s reactors under the current conditions of armed conflict would be an escalation of the dangers the war already presents. In our analysis, Russia is already taking definitive steps to bring this dangerous idea to fruition. It is our hope that our report will help inform international efforts to prevent the Kremlin from continuing down this perilous and technically fraught path.

Read the report here