Billions in Damages and Great Concerns

news 12-Jun-2023 Europe

Billions in Damages and Great Concerns

The Ukraine expects to face damages in the billions of dollars due to the destruction of the Kakhovska dam. Destroyed crops, flooded grain storage, fish deaths, and ruined industries are among the consequences. There is also a concern about the cooling system of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station.

The destruction of the Kakhovska dam has had severe consequences for people and nature in Ukraine. The Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, says, "Cities, infrastructure, entire industries need to be rebuilt." The total damage will only be visible once the water has receded. Makeiev estimates that the damages will cost billions.

According to Makeiev, the reconstruction costs for Ukraine alone this year amount to $14.1 billion (around €13 billion). "Of that, $3.3 billion has already been provided in the Ukrainian budget. Everything is needed, from drinking water filters to inflatable boats," said the ambassador.

Makeiev is also concerned about the fishing and agriculture in the flooded region. "The loss of all biological resources will have serious consequences for the fishing industry." In the Cherson region, fish deaths have already been reported. Makeiev says, "The grain storages are under water."

The grain industry is especially affected. "More than 20,000 hectares of agricultural land, where Ukrainian vegetable farming was concentrated, are out of commission for many years," said Makeiev. "Grain storage is under water. Only a few ships in the Black Sea ports that supply the world with grain can be loaded." Floods have blocked transport routes, and the closure of ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea have severely affected many small and medium enterprises.

The World Bank, along with the EU, UN, and Ukrainian government, estimated that the cost of reconstruction and economic recovery for Ukraine was around $411 billion (over €370 billion) due to the damages from the first year of the war.

According to Funke media, Ukraine has requested emergency help from the German Federal Foreign Office, including tanker trucks for drinking water supply, fire hoses, rescue buoys, sewage motor pumps, and life jackets.

Entire Regions Under Water

The Kakhovska dam was destroyed on Tuesday night. Large areas in the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson are now under water on the Kiew-controlled right bank as well as the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of destroying the dam. Moscow denies this and blames Kyiv for the catastrophe.

Water Level Lowers

The Dnipro reservoir has lost more than a third of the collected spring floodwater. "As of 12:00 on June 10, the level of the Kachovka reservoir in the Nikopol area dropped to 10.2 meters," Ukrhydroenerho, the Ukrainian hydroelectric power supplier, said.

According to the operator of the hydroelectric power plants, the plants are only operating at half capacity. In the upper reaches of the Dnipro, more water is to be stored to generate electricity in the summer.

Concerns About Nuclear Power Plant

Experts are also concerned about the cooling system of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after the floods. Although the Russian-controlled nuclear power plant is over 100 kilometers upstream from the dam, it still relies on water from the Dnipro to cool down the decommissioned reactors and spent fuel.

The Ukrainian nuclear energy authority has shut down the last reactor in operation. One "cold shutdown" has already been carried out for the five other reactors at the Russian-occupied nuclear plant. But according to Energoatom, "there is no direct danger."

Experts believe that water supply for the cooling system will still be ensured for a few months, despite the dam's destruction. However, it is doubtful whether this time window can be used to tap alternative water sources, said Nikolaus Müllner from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna.

"The situation is, of course, threatening," said the head of the Institute for Safety and Risk Sciences of the dpa news agency.

Additionally, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi had warned that the parties in the war could damage the nuclear power plant's large cooling pond. Furthermore, according to Grossi and Greenpeace activists, there is a risk that the embankment around the pond could become compromised due to changing water levels and excessive pressure, causing damage.

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