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GE Vernova to work on $1 billion restoration of Ukraine's Kakhovka dam

Ukrhydroenergo General Director Ihor Syrota holds up the memorandum signed with GE Vernova at an online signing ceremony (Photo by Ukrhydroenergo)

GE Vernova has agreed to work on the $1 billion restoration of the Kakhovka hydro power dam in Ukraine that was destroyed in an explosion in June, Ukraine's state-owned power producer Ukrhydroenergo said.

Vernova, the renewable energy business created in the historic split of General Electric announced last year, signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to "cooperate" on reconstruction of the 351 MW dam and other projects.

The scope of the agreement is not yet clear but Ukrhydroenergo General Director Ihor Syrota suggested Vernova could work on the repair of other hydropower facilities as well.

"We will be glad to see you as our partners in view of the need to restore the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and other objects that were damaged by Russian missiles,"  Syrota said in a press release. "I invite you to dynamic cooperation, because by the end of the year we should have a clear plan for the execution of the works.

"Unfortunately, we have a lot of damaged electrical equipment after the missile strikes by the enemy," Syrota told Frederic Ribieras, CEO of Vernova's Hydro Power business, at the online signing ceremony on Tuesday.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam in early June inflicted about $2 billion in damage, according to ongoing research by the KSE Institute, the analytical arm of the Kyiv School of Economics. Material damage to the Soviet-era dam totaled about $624 million, but it will cost $1 billion to build a new one, the institute says.

Ukrhydroenergo has signed similar agreements on the Kakhovka dam with other companies since the destruction of the dam, which unleashed 18 cubic kilometers of water across a swathe of southern Ukraine.

In August, Syrota signed an agreement with Hyusnu Akhan, CEO of Turkey's Dogus Group, that envisions the construction of multiple hydroelectric dams in Ukraine.

And in July Ukrhydroenergo signed a memorandum of cooperation with Korean water resources corporation K-Water on the reconstruction of the Kakhovka dam. The agreement "includes the exchange of information on dams and hydro generation, safety diagnostics for the restoration of damaged facilities and technical support during the restoration phase," Ukrhydroenergo said at the time.

In June, Bechtel signed an accord with the State Agency for Restoration and Development of Infrastructure of Ukraine to carry out unspecified projects related to the restoration of the dam. It also agreed to undertake "master planning and provision of technical services for key logistics and transportation corridors, and identification of potential sources of funding for reconstruction projects, including private sector investment."

Repair works needed as a result of the explosion extend well beyond the Dnieper River dam. The KSE Institute says repair to infrastructure washed out in the flooding, including 290 kms of roads, will cost $311 million. Flooding from the explosion also caused $105 million in damage to surrounding industrial sites and $25 million in damage to agriculture, according to the study.

The circumstances of the explosion are not clear, with Russians and Ukrainians blaming each other. The dam was under Russian control at the time of the explosion, which the Ukrainian government said shows the Russians blew it up. However, Ukraine was preparing a major offensive in the area at the time and the Russians accuse Ukraine of blowing up the dam to advance military objectives.

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