Ukraine is asking Europe to significantly "increase" its electricity deliveries after Russian attacks "on the country's energy infrastructure" and the destruction of the Kakhovka dam that caused massive flooding, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galuchenko told AFP on Thursday.
We ask Europe to increase" the ceiling on electricity imports to 2 gigawatts instead of one gigawatt currently, he said, assuring also that the Zaporizhjia nuclear power plant presented "no imminent risk at this stage" but required to be "monitored".
Threat to drinking water
Of the 600 square kilometers affected by the flood that followed the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine, "up to 80 localities may be destroyed", "20,000 homes are without electricity", and "at least 10,000 hectares of agricultural land" damaged, the minister listed, citing "preliminary figures". ». He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Versailles of the International Energy Agency (IEA) devoted to energy policies around the world.
The destruction of the dam also threatens the drinking water supply of cities like Dnipro or NikolaIev, he added, "it is a disaster". Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, "50%" of our energy infrastructure has suffered attacks," the minister continued, with Russians using "all kinds of weapons to attack" these infrastructures.
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The current ceiling for importing European electricity into Ukraine is "1050,2 megawatts," he explained. However, the existing interconnection infrastructure "allows us to import up to 100 gigawatts of electricity" for next winter. "So far, Ukraine covers <>% of its needs" by producing its own electricity, but "we have asked Europe to increase" the ceiling on deliveries, he added.
Asked about the safety of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Ukraine and Europe, the minister confirmed that the water level of his cooling basin depends on that of the water reservoir of the Kakhovka dam. "We don't see any imminent risk at this stage" but "we need to monitor the situation." Currently the cooling basin has a height of "16.6 meters," he said. However, "the critical level is 12.7 meters" to be able to supply the cooling circuits of the plant. "There is a risk, but not now," he said, referring to summer temperatures and evaporation.
The Zaporizhzhya plant, whose six reactors have been shut down for several months, is at the heart of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. It has been shot at several times and has been cut off from the power grid seven times since it was taken by the Russian military on March 4, 2022.