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Ukraine and Zaporizhzhia Battle the Loss of Kakhovka Dam

  • By Admin
  • June 6, 2023

Kakhovka Dam, one of Ukraine’s major dams has collapsed, triggering floods, endangering crops in the country’s breadbasket, and threatening drinking water supplies.  Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other as responsible for the destruction.

A satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC and analyzed by The Associated Press showed a large portion of the dam’s wall, more than 600 meters (over 1,900 feet) is missing.

The environmental and social consequences are affecting both Russian-controlled and Ukrainian-held lands, as homes, streets, and businesses are flooding downstream.  Emergency crews are evacuating, officials are monitoring drinking water supplies, and officials at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are evaluating their cooling systems capabilities.

Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said via Telegram that the damage to the dam “could have negative consequences” for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is Europe’s biggest, but wrote that for now, the situation is “controllable.”

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said there was “no immediate risk to the safety of the plant,” which has been shut down for months but still needs water for its cooling system. It said that IAEA staff on site have been told the dam level is falling by 5 centimeters (2 inches) an hour. At that rate, the supply from the reservoir should last a few days, it said.

The plant also has alternate sources of water, including a large pond that can provide water “for some months,” the statement said.

Ukrainian authorities have previously warned that the dam’s failure could unleash 18 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water and flood Kherson and dozens of other areas where thousands live.

The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, estimated that nearly 100 villages and towns would be flooded. It also reckoned that the water level would start dropping only after 5-7 days.