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The danger at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

27 minutes
The danger at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Moscow and Kyiv have traded allegations that the other side is planning a disastrous attack on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant that they warn could cause a major radiological event. Last week, Ukrainian President Zelensky warned that Russian occupation forces have placed “objects resembling explosives” on some rooftops at the power station, “perhaps to simulate an attack on the plant.” Officials in Moscow, on the other hand, have their own allegations, claiming that Ukraine plans to frame Russian troops for an attack on the plant.

Meanwhile, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are on the ground but still aren’t getting unrestricted access. On July 7, the IAEA reported that they visited the isolation gate separating the cooling pond from what remains of the Kakhovka reservoir after the destruction of the downstream dam a month ago. They found no leakage from the pond, and they’ve observed no visible indications of mines or explosives anywhere inside the plant, but they still haven’t been allowed onto the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 and parts of the turbine halls.

To make sense of these reports and to respond to the panic that this situation provokes, The Naked Pravda welcomes back nuclear arms expert Pavel Podvig, a senior researcher at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research.

Timestamps for this episode:

  • (4:37) Why it’s wrong to fear a repeat of the Chernobyl or Fukushima disasters at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
  • (9:48) Disagreements among nuclear experts about the dangers now in Ukraine
  • (13:06) Weighing the reports and allegations from Moscow and Kyiv
  • (18:22) Escalating rhetoric about nuclear weapons in Russia’s foreign-policy expert community
  • (23:12) Why there are probably no Russian nukes in Belarus, at least not yet

New episodes of The Naked Pravda are released at the end of every week. Catch each show by subscribing through Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or one of these other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the podcast, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Sound editing by Kevin Rothrock

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