Day 185 Roundup: Risk of Radioactive Leakage at Zaporizhzhia Power Plant, UK to Send Underwater Drones to Ukraine

Photo: AP [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • On Sat., Ukraine's state energy operator, Energoatom, said there's a risk of radioactive leakage at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - Europe's largest nuclear facility that's currently occupied by Russian troops. In case of a radiation leak, authorities started handing out iodine tablets to people who live near the facility on Friday.

  • This comes as both Ukraine and Russia exchanged renewed accusations of attacks on the nuclear plant on Sat., with Energoatom claiming that Moscow shelled the grounds of the plant in the last 24 hours, and Russia's defense ministry alleging that Ukrainian forces shelled the plant three times in the last 24 hours. Neither claims could be independently confirmed.

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's a 17% chance that there will be a serious radiation incident at any nuclear plant in Ukraine before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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