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Kakhovka dam explosion poses no threat to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Enerhoatom

Zaporizhzhia NPP
The cooling pond of the Zaporizhzhia NPP is unconnected to the reservoir. Screenshot of satellite imagery from Google Earth
Kakhovka dam explosion poses no threat to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Enerhoatom

The paused nuclear reactors are not as hot, so water does not evaporate from the cooling pond; however, Russia must leave the nuclear power plant, says agency head

Petro Kotin, President of Energoatom, the national nuclear energy generating company of Ukraine, has dismissed concerns about the potential impact of the Kakhovka Reservoir’s falling water levels on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant following Russia’s destruction of a dam. Kotin stated during the national broadcast that the situation is not critical for the power plant.

“We do not assess this situation as critical for the Zaporizhzhia NPP. It cools down from its own cooling pond, which is separated from the Kakhovka Reservoir. The reduction in the level in the Kakhovka Reservoir does not directly affect the reduction in the level in the pond,” Kotin affirmed.

Previously, water from the Kakhovka Reservoir was used to maintain the water level in the pond and the basins of the reactor safety systems. However, this hasn’t been necessary since September 2022, as the power units of the Zaporizhzhia NPP are not operational, having been switched off due to security concerns under Russian occupation.

“If the units were working – and no unit is working now, – then there would be active evaporation from the ponds and the level would gradually decrease,” Kotin said. He added that in case of a critical situation, the pond can be replenished with water from wells, “even if there is no water at all in the Kakhovka Reservoir,” as such a situation is anticipated in project documents.

Kotin emphasized, “As of today, there is no direct immediate threat. But the station needs to be freed and put in order.”

On the night of 6 June 2023, Russian invaders blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station, triggering an evacuation. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council. As of 7:30, several areas were partially or fully flooded.

Ukrhydroenerho, the company managing hydroelectric energy generation in Ukraine, has declared the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station was completely destroyed and beyond repair following the explosion. However, Ukrainian Army spox Humeniuk said that the dam was significantly, but not fully, destroyed.

Due to the Russian occupation in February 2022, the ZNPP has stopped producing electricity but consumes power to cool the nuclear reactors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is trying to negotiate demilitarization and a safety zone around the ZNPP. However, the plant remains under Russian control, with Russian forces continuing to militarize it and blocking access to the IAEA.

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