Ukraine shut down one of the six reactors in its most powerful nuclear power plant today – for the second time in a month – because of an apparent electrical malfunction.

The Zaporizhia nuclear plant’s website insisted that radiation levels in the area remained normal after the sixth reactor was “disconnected from the grid by the generator’s internal defence mechanism”.

An official statement said the plant was “operating at 40 per cent power… The reasons for the outage are being investigated”.

A short-circuit in the same power station’s third reactor contributed to power cuts across Ukraine earlier this month. The Zaporizhia plant, in the south-east of the country, is Europe’s largest and the fifth most powerful in the world. It generates 40 per cent of Ukraine’s nuclear power and switched on its first reactor in 1984. The Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, noted the previous outage during one of his Cabinet sessions, urging ministers to tell the truth about “the accident”.

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