Skip to main content

The breaching of a major dam in southern Ukraine this morning could carry significant implications for the development of armed conflict in the region, as well as the security of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which currently sits on disputed territory. Prior to its destruction, which is suspected to be the result of a military operation by either Russia or Ukraine, the Nova Kakhovka dam formed the final leg of six dams along the Dnieper river, and stems the tide of water downstream toward the southwestern portion of the Kherson oblast. Without it, flooding has already begun putting part of the region underwater.

It could also make the upstream reservoir much shallower, which will constrict the amount of water available to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). The ZNPP uses water from the Dnieper to cool its reactors, but if water levels fall below a certain threshold, it becomes impossible to pump it into the plant. For now, all of the reactors are in some level of shutdown, which reduces their cooling needs, but the situation remains tense, as the potential spillage of hazardous materials into the river is still a pressing concern.

Related ETFs: Sprott Uranium Miners ETF (URNM), Global X Uranium ETF (URA)

Earlier today, a dam in Ukraine’s Dnieper River collapsed as a likely result of sabotage. The dam is connected to Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant and splits the river in the southern region of Ukraine with the town of Nova Kakhovka to on the left bank of the river and Kozats’ke on the right. Nova Kakhovka and its power plant, along with the dam itself, are considered to be under Russian occupation.

The breaching of the dam was not completely unexpected, as both Russia and Ukraine had accused each other of plotting to damage the structure throughout the past several months. As such, Each side of the conflict blamed the other for the destruction of the dam this morning, which will cause widespread, continual flooding throughout many towns in the Kherson Oblast – particularly those in the lower lying left bank to the south of Kherson city – and make any military operations unlikely in the affected areas for the foreseeable future.

It could also starve the Crimean Peninsula of a critical source of fresh water, as the Dnieper Reservoir feeds into the North Crimean Canal, the channel which has traditionally supplied 85% of Crimea’s water. Per Reuters, most of that water is used for agriculture, some for industry, and around one fifth for drinking water and other public needs. Ukraine had previously blocked this canal for several years in an effort to put a hold on water supplies to Crimea, following the Russian annexation of the oblast in 2014. That blockade was ended last year after Russia was able to invade and occupy much of Southern Ukraine, and Russian sources claim Crimea has built up enough reserve water in its own reservoirs to…

To read the complete Intelligence Briefing, current All-Access clients, SIGN IN

All-Access clients receive the full-spectrum of MRP’s research, including daily investment insights and unlimited use of our online research archive. For a free trial of MRP’s All-Access membership, or to save 50% on your first year by signing up now, CLICK HERE