Kakhovka Dam in Kherson Region Blown Up, Causes Flooding Downstream
June 6, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP), located on the Dnieper River in the Kherson Region, was blown up early this morning. Russian officials are reporting flooding downstream of the dam and evacuations of settlements on the left bank. “At the moment the Kakhovka HPP ... continues to collapse, water is being discharged uncontrollably,” Novaya Kakhovka Mayor Vladimir Leontyev told Rossiya 1 TV, reported TASS. Ukrainian forces shelled the Kakhovka HPP in the early morning hours on June 6, presumably using missiles fired from an Olkha multiple-launch rocket system (a Ukrainian development of the Soviet-era Smerch system). Slide gate valves on the plant’s dam collapsed as a result of the shelling, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water.
Imagery published on the Intel Slava Z Telegram channel shows that the flooding downstream of the dam is mainly on the left bank, that is, the Russian-controlled side, but the city of Kherson, some 65-70 km downstream from the dam and controlled by the Kiev regime, has also been flooded. Russian authorities are evacuating a number of settlements on the left bank, immediately below the dam. “According to the latest data, 600 houses in three settlements of the Novaya Kakhovka district are flooded, the state of emergency has been declared,” a source in the emergency services told TASS.
Also of concern is the situation at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), roughly 140 km upstream from the Kakhovka dam. The destruction of the dam seems to be draining the reservoir from which cooling for the ZNPP is drawn. IAEA Director General Raphael Grossi issued a statement from Vienna this morning saying that the ZNPP is not in immediate danger and that available cooling resources are such that the plant will be safe for up to a few months. “The IAEA staff on the site have been informed that the damage to the Nova Kakhovka dam is currently leading to about 5 cm/hour reduction in the height of the reservoir,” Grossi said. “Water in the reservoir was at around 16.4 meters at 8 a.m.,” he said. “If it drops below 12.7 meters then it can no longer be pumped.” As an alternative, Grossi said, the cooling pond onsite at the plant is sufficient to provide cooling for several months.
As of midday local time, Zaporozhye Region Governor Yevgeny Balitsky was reporting that the water near the ZNPP had already dropped 2.5 meters and was expected to fall by 7 meters.