Record high water levels could overwhelm a major dam in southern Ukraine and damage parts of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, a Russian official told Tass agency on Thursday.
Renat Karchaa, an adviser to the general director of nuclear energy firm Rosenergoatom, said if the Nova Kakhovka dam did rupture, the power cable line for the Zaporizhzhia plant’s pumping stations would be flooded.
“This (would create) functional problems for the operation of the plant and risks for nuclear safety,” he told Tass.
Last November, after Russian forces withdrew from the nearby southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, satellite imagery showed significant new damage to the dam.
Both sides have accused each other of planning to breach the dam using explosives, which would flood much of the area downstream and would likely cause major destruction around Kherson.
Karchaa’s comments represent a significant contrast from those made in late March by Ukrainian officials, who said they feared the Zaporizhzhia facility could face a shortage of water to cool reactors by late summer because Russian forces had let water out of a reservoir that supplied the plant.
Russian troops took over the plant as they invaded parts of Ukraine last year. It is at the center of a nuclear security crisis due to near-constant shelling in its vicinity which Kyiv and Moscow blame on each other.
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