What we know about a large dam’s catastrophic breach in Ukraine

A catastrophic breach in the Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine has caused floods, evacuations, and concerns for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

The situation: Ukraine claims Russia sabotaged the dam by setting off explosions in the power plant, while Russia blames Ukraine for firing on the dam overnight. NATO sides with Ukraine in these accusations.
* The breach has destroyed 16 gates, the hydroelectric power station, and an earthen dam.

Impact on nuclear power plant: The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest, relies on the dam’s reservoir for its cooling water supply, and falling water levels are expected to cut off the main supply used to cool the plant’s reactors.
* As of now, there is no direct or immediate threat to the nuclear power plant.

By the numbers: At 8 a.m. local time, the reservoir stood at 16.4 meters (54 feet), and if it falls below 12.7 meters (41.6 feet), water can no longer be pumped to the plant’s cooling system.
* More than 1,339 people have been evacuated, with 13 settlements and over 260 houses on the river’s right bank submerged.

Next steps: A crucial goal is protecting the remaining alternative water supplies for the plant, including a large cooling pond that could provide water for several months.

View original article on NPR

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