Russia says no threat 'for now' to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after dam breach

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict outside Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, March 29, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom said on Tuesday that the breach of a dam in southern Ukraine did not pose a threat to the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for now where it said the situation was being monitored.

Ukraine and Russia accused each other on Tuesday of blowing up the Soviet-era Nova Kakhovka dam in part of Ukraine's Kherson region controlled by Russian forces unleashing a wall of floodwater.

Yury Chernichuk, director of the Russian-controlled power station, said in a statement on the Telegram messaging application that the situation at the nuclear plant was stable.

"At the moment there are no threats to the safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Five units are in "cold shutdown" state, 1 in "hot shutdown" state. The water level in the cooling pond has not changed and is 16.67 metres," he said.

Chernichuk said that water cooling the facility's spent nuclear fuel storage pools was on a closed circuit and had no direct contact with water coming from the Kakhovka Reservoir.

Nor, he said, was the heat removal system dependent on water from the reservoir and could be replenished with water from "several alternative sources."

Ukraine's state atomic energy agency said earlier on Tuesday that the situation at the plant was under control, but that the rapidly lowering level of the reservoir posed an "additional threat" to what is Europe's largest nuclear power plant because some of its systems relied on the reservoir's water to operate.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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