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Report: Cooling pond at Zaporizhzhia plant at risk of rupturing surrounding dike following dam explosion

by Haley Zehrung June 9, 2023 2:46 AM 1 min read
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The Kakhovka dam explosion and falling water levels of the Kakhovka reservoir could have a serious impact on the cooling pond at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

A drop in the Dnipro River's water level could cause the internal pressure of the water in the plant's cooling pond to rupture the surrounding dike, the Paris-based institute said in a report published on June 7.

The report said that in the event the dike is damaged, water could be brought in from other sources, such as pump trucks that could be used to replenish the plant's spray ponds, sprinkler systems that are used to cool a nuclear plant's reactors when they are in shutdown mode.

Since the Zaporizhzhia plant's six reactors have already been in shutdown mode for several months, less water than usual is needed to cool them, meaning that operations should be fine for "several weeks," the report said.

Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi said on June 8 that the nuclear power plant has continued to pump water into the cooling pond from the Kakhovka reservoir, despite the water level reaching a level that was previously estimated as being inoperative.

The IAEA has already expressed its concerns with the cooling pond, saying that the preservation of the pond is "vital" to the plant's operations.

Russian forces destroyed the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant's dam on the Dnipro River on June 6, sparking a large-scale humanitarian and environmental disaster across southern Ukraine.

Following the dam breach, an estimated 600 square kilometers of Ukraine's Kherson Oblast have been flooded, affecting more than 20 settlements and over 2,000 homes in the oblast.

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