Securing Zaporizhzhia with Diplomacy and Deterrence

Published by War on the Rocks


The destruction of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam on June 6 has exacerbated concerns over the safety of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. To cool its six reactors and its spent fuel pools, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), located some 93 miles upstream from the dam, relies on water from the Kakhovka Reservoir, which has dropped rapidly since the dam break. The ZNPP continues to operate safely for the time being and there is no immediate threat to the plant. However, if water supply remains precarious and as military activity in the Zaporizhzhia region intensifies, the risk of an accident at the plant cannot be ruled out. While a catastrophe approximating the scale of Chernobyl is highly unlikely, an incident resulting in the release of some hazardous material, with potential environmental and health risks to the communities exposed, is possible....