Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shellingZaporizhzhya NPP via YouTube/via REUTERS

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was temporarily cut off from the electrical grid Thursday because of fire damage, causing a blackout in the region, reported The Associated Press.

The complex, Europe's largest nuclear plant, has been occupied by Russian forces and operated by Ukrainian workers since the early days of the six-month-old war.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the nuclear installation, sparking fears of a nuclear accident.

On Thursday, the plant was cut off from the grid for the first time in its history after fires damaged the last operating regular transmission line, Ukraine's nuclear power agency, Energoatom, said, according to AP.

It was not immediately clear whether the damaged line carried outgoing electricity or incoming power, needed for the reactors' vital cooling systems. A backup line supplying electricity from another plant remained in place, Energoatom said. The entire Zaporizhzhia region lost power, according to Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russia-installed governor.

As a result of the damage, the two reactors still in use, out of the plant's six, went offline, he said, but one was quickly restored, as was electricity to the area.

Balitsky blamed the transmission-line damage on a Ukrainian attack. Energoatom blamed “actions of the invaders.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week agreed for a team of independent inspectors to travel to Zaporizhzhia via Ukraine, in an apparent resolution of a dispute over whether inspectors travel to the plant via Ukraine or Russia.

On Tuesday, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its inspectors will visit the Zaporizhzhia plant “within days”.

The UN recently demanded an end to the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Previously, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi warned that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is “completely out of control.”