Dam Damage Fuels Fears For Safety Of Ukraine Nuclear Plant

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Vienna: The UN and Russia said there was no major risk to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Tuesday after damage to a major dam in occupied Ukraine caused floods, but Kyiv warned of a potential disaster.

Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the damage at the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and offered conflicting versions on the safety situation at the Moscow-occupied plant, some 150 kilometres away.

The Kakhovka dam sits on the Dnipro river, which provides cooling water for the plant.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was "aware" of the reports of damage at the Kakhovka plant.

"IAEA experts at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant are closely monitoring the situation; no immediate nuclear safety risk at plant," it said in a tweet.

The Russian-installed director of the plant, Yuri Chernichuk, echoed the UN agency.

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"At the moment, there is no security threat to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant," Chernichuk said in a Telegram statement.

"The water level in the cooling pond has not changed," he said, adding that the "situation was controlled by personnel."

Chernichuk said "the water cooling the spent nuclear fuel pools is a closed circuit that does not have direct contact with the outside environment and the water of the Kakhovka reservoir."

He said the water can be refilled with "water from the Kakhovka reservoir or with several alternative sources."

Ukraine -- which in 1986 suffered the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster -- sounded the alarm.

"The world once again finds itself on the brink of a nuclear disaster, because the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant lost its source of cooling. And this danger is now growing rapidly," Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said.

The Ukrainian nuclear operator, Energoatom, said the water level of the Kakhovka reservoir was "rapidly decreasing, which is an additional threat to the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant."

It said it was "monitoring the situation" and that currently the cooling plant's pond water level is "sufficient for the power plant's needs."


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