Day 195 Roundup: Nuclear Plant Again Disconnected from Ukrainian Power Grid as IAEA Report Released

Photo: Reuters

The Facts

  • The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant (ZNPP) was once again disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid on Mon. because of a fire caused by shelling, officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed. The agency said a back-up line "was deliberately disconnected in order to extinguish a fire," adding: "The line itself is not damaged, and it will be reconnected once the fire is extinguished."

  • It comes as the IAEA report published on Tues. following their investigation of the plant said the situation at ZNPP is "not sustainable," with the watchdog calling for a security zone around the plant. Russia, meanwhile, voiced "regret" that the report didn't directly blame Ukraine for the shelling of the plant. Both sides have exchanged blame.


The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Experts have made it clear – the situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant presents the risk of another Chernobyl. Nuclear disaster has, miraculously, been avoided so far, but continuing risks the safety and effectiveness of staff to control the reactors could have catastrophic consequences.

Establishment-critical narrative

Although Zaporizhzhia's cooling systems will be relatively vulnerable due to their contact with the outside world, the worst case scenario would only cause serious damage at a local level. Both Russia and Ukraine are over stating the risk of nuclear catastrophe to galvanize domestic support for the invasion and play upon Western fears to incentivize providing military and public support respectively.

Nerd narrative

There is an 18% chance that there will be a serious radiation incident at any nuclear plant in Ukraine by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


Establishment split

CRITICAL

PRO

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