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Ukrainian dam engineer rules out self-destruction of Kakhovka dam

Flooded riverside neighborhoods in Kherson. Photo: Source.
Ukrainian dam engineer rules out self-destruction of Kakhovka dam

The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was designed to withstand a nuclear strike. Thus, its self-destruction is out of the question, a dam engineer, Mykola Kalinin, told the Ukrainian media Texty.

Mykola Kalinin is a chief engineer of Ukrhydroproject, a Ukrainian hydropower project company based in Kharkiv. Ukrhydroproject has been specializing in the design of energy facilities since 1927. In his interview with Texty, Mykola Kalinin dispelled the myth that the dam might have been destroyed due to damage sustained during hostilities in the Kherson Oblast in the autumn of 2022.

Russian troops blow up dam of Kakhovka HPP, unleashing environmental disaster (UPDATING)

Mykola Kalinin: The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was designed and built to withstand a nuclear strike from the outside. Therefore, any assumptions that the dam could somehow collapse on its own have no grounds. I rule this out. Once again, the dam is designed to withstand a nuclear strike. Several gates at the Kakhovka dam were destroyed and let water through. About five gates were open, and water was constantly coming down through them.

Texty:  How was the dam destroyed, in your opinion?

Mykola Kalinin: It had to be several explosions that were carried out simultaneously to destroy the dam. Most likely, the dam itself was mined.  Explosives were planted in open spans and, perhaps, other parts of the dam as well. In addition, the explosives might have been installed inside the turbine hall of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, where the hydroelectric generating units are located.

I believe the turbine hall was mined from the inside because, as I said above, the dam was designed and built to withstand a powerful attack from the outside. But not a bombing from the inside. Suppose one has correct instructions on where to plant explosives, and we know that employees of the Russian energy sector were working at Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant [Russian forces occupied Nova Kakhovka and the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant on 24 February 2022 – ed.]. In that case, you can eventually get what we got.

The fact that the dam building was blown up may also indicate that the Russians wanted to destroy both the dam and the entire hydroelectric plant as a power facility.

Texty: Supporters of the dam’s self-destruction version claim no powerful explosion was heard in the area.

Mykola Kalinin: Locals could not have heard the explosion clearly because the explosives were hidden in the depths of the hydroelectric power plant building: in the interior premises, and below the water level.

Texty: Who controlled the dam in the area where the explosives were allegedly planted?

Mykola Kalinin: The entire dam was under Russian control, of course. They controlled and still control everything there.

Texty: Is it possible to rebuild the hydroelectric power plant?

Mykola Kalinin It is possible. There is no doubt about that. We are preparing to launch the rebuilding quickly after the liberation of this territory from the Russian occupation. The new hydroelectric power plant will be more powerful and better.

The Kakhovka dam destruction

The Kahovka hydroelectric power plant in southern Ukraine experienced significant destruction on 6 June, causing widespread flooding, mass evacuation of civilians, military setbacks, and raising disputes regarding the future implications.

Ukraine has accused Russia of blowing up the dam at Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, putting thousands of people at risk of flooding and endangering Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. An investigation into “ecocide” has been launched by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General.

According to the Ukrainian intelligence agency, the detonation of the dam happened at 2:30 AM on 6 June. Russia carried out primary mining operations immediately after seizing Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant back in February-March 2022. In April 2022, Russia conducted additional mining of the locks and supports and placed trucks with explosives on the dam itself, the agency claimed.

Before the explosion, Russian troops raised the water level at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant that they controlled, according to Oleksii Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Russians blew up Kakhovka Dam using explosives planted there last fall – Danilov

One week before the explosion at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, Russian authorities issued a directive not to investigate accidents at hazardous sites due to “military actions” and acts of terrorism, including in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, the Russian media Insider reported. The document, dated 30 May 2023, was published on the official web portal of legal information. The resolution, signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, entered into force on the day of its publication, i.e., 31 May.

Flooding in the Kherson Oblast

The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant destruction triggered unprecedented flooding in the Kherson Oblast, southern Ukraine. As of 3 pm, 20 settlements and 2,612 houses on the western bank of the Dnipro River (the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Kherson Oblast) have been flooded, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service.

As the Kakhovka dam collapses, the water level is expected to rise another meter within 20 hours. According to the State Emergency Service, 1,752 people have been evacuated from the flooded areas, including 103 children.

If the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam continues to collapse for another 20 hours, the water level in the flooded areas will rise by another meter. Oleksandr Tolokonnikov, a spokesman of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said this on the air of the United News telethon, Ukrinform reports.

In its June 7 morning situation update on the flooding caused by the Kakhovka Dam attack, the hydropower plants operator Ukrhydroenergo reported that the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir continues to decline and has dropped by almost 2.5 meters since yesterday.

The reservoir’s maximum depth is 26 meters, and its area is 2,155 km². The destruction of the spillway dam and the earthen insert between the station building and the sluice continues, according to Ukrhydroenergo.


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