Day 199: Zaporizhzhia Power Plant Without External Power; Russia Withdraws Troops From Key Areas

Photo: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/Handout [via Reuters]

The Facts

  • The Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in southern Ukraine is without offsite power after a backup line to the facility was damaged by shelling. Four regular power lines had already been lost earlier in the week and the damage to the backup line, which has been cut and restored repeatedly this week, means the ZNPP has been forced to rely on diesel generators – only sustainable for a few hours at a time.

  • Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said shelling of the switchyard at Enerhodar's thermal power plant led to a complete power blackout in the city and the ZNPP. "As a result, the IAEA understands that the operator, having no longer confidence in the restoration of offsite power, is considering shutting down the only remaining operating reactor."

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine has turned the territory around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant into a war zone, placing the world at risk of nuclear catastrophe. Russia must unconditionally leave the plant and let officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency permanently take control of the situation.

Establishment-critical narrative

Western media continues to portray Ukraine as a sainted nation that can do no wrong, while the Russian military are vilified as a threat to global stability. However, given that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been under the control of Russian forces since early March, Kyiv's forces are far more likely to be the ones shelling it. Are we really to believe the Russians are shelling themselves?

Nerd narrative

There is an 19% 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



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