Day 178: Putin Agrees to IAEA Experts at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant; Drone Hits Russian Navy Headquarters in Crimea

Photo: Reuters

The Facts

  • In a call with French Pres. Emmanuel Macron on Fri., Russia's Vladimir Putin agreed to send experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, statements from the offices of both presidents were confirmed.

  • The Zaporizhzhia plant – Europe's largest with six nuclear reactors – was captured by Russian forces on Mar. 4 and has since been the target of sporadic rocket attacks that Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for. Both countries have also alleged the other side was planning false-flag operations in recent days. The office of the French pres. said Macron and Putin will agree on a timeline of the IAEA deployment "in the next few days."

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 20% chance that there will be a serious radiation incident at any nuclear plant in Ukraine by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Public figures in this story

Establishment split



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