Moscow (EFE) the supply of the Crimean peninsula, controlled by Russia since 2014.
The construction of the dam started in 1950 and it was commissioned six years later, during the Soviet times.
Kakhovka is the last of the cascade of hydroelectric power plants on the Dnieper River.
It is the fifth hydroelectric plant in Ukraine with a capacity of 334.8 megawatts. Before Tuesday’s disaster, the reservoir contained 18 million cubic meters of water. The dam wall is 16 meters high and 3,850 meters long.
The infrastructure, which will have to be built from scratch, according to the Russian authorities, is located in the southern region of Kherson, 5 kilometers from the city of New Kakhovka, which Russia occupied in February 2022, as soon as the military intervention began in the neighboring country.
The Kakhovka dam and Crimea
The dam of the hydroelectric power station is of great importance not only for its energy and irrigation capacities for agriculture, but also because it connects the right and left banks of the Dnieper River, which has become the front line between the Russian and Ukrainian armies.
On the other hand, near New Kajovka, which had about 45,000 inhabitants before the start of the war, the North Crimean Canal originates, which carries water to the annexed peninsula from the Dnieper River, where the hydroelectric plant is located. destroyed.
The canal, more than 400 kilometers long, originates from the Kakhovka reservoir and was built between 1961 and 1971 to provide water to dry areas in the Kherson and Crimean region.
Ukraine blocked it in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea, and in the first days of the offensive in the neighboring country, Moscow occupied the hydroelectric plant and access to the key infrastructure for supplying the peninsula.
The water needed to cool Zaporizhia
The water from the Dnieper River and the Kakhovka reservoir is also vital for the operation of the nearby Zaporizhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe and under constant danger from war attacks.
The water from the reservoir is needed for the plant in the neighboring Zaporizhia region to receive electricity for the turbine condensers and security systems at the plant, which is occupied by Russian troops.
The plant’s cooling pond is filled with a water level of 16.6 meters, which is sufficient for the plant’s needs, according to the Ukrainian nuclear agency, Energoatom.
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who are at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant assured this Tuesday that “there is no immediate risk to nuclear safety at the plant.”
However, the director general of the IAEA, the Argentine Rafael Grossi, has warned in a statement that the damage suffered in the dam has caused a serious drop in the water level in the reservoir that is used to cool the Zaporizhia nuclear plant ( ZNPP).
Also Russia, which controls the atomic plant, stated that the risks for the Zaporizhia plant “are now minimal.”
Last October, both kyiv and Moscow warned of plans by the other side to bomb or blow up the dam.
Ukraine pointed out on that occasion that if the dam bursts, more than 80 towns would be in the flood zone.
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, then also requested the sending of an international observation mission to Kajovka.
Pro-Russian authorities in the Kherson region of Ukraine began at that time to release water from the dam to lower the water level and thus minimize the potential disaster.
These actions, according to local officials, made it possible to avoid the worst scenario also today, when the hydroelectric plant received irreparable damage.