Zaporizhzhia power plant: danger of an attack?

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has warned of the danger of a Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station and says that Russian forces have mined the cooling pond there. Moscow, for its part, claims that Ukraine is planning an attack. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it has found no indications of mines or other explosives at the plant so far. Commentators discuss how dangerous the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant could become.

Jutarnji list (HR) /

More of a threat than a realistic scenario

Jutarnji list does not believe Russia would intentionally cause a nuclear incident:

“The [US think tank] Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believes that it is unlikely that Russia would trigger a radiological incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because it would not be possible for it to control the effects of the accident. This would jeopardise Russia’s ability to control the occupied territories in southern Ukraine. The ISW estimates that the consequences of such an act would outweigh any benefits to Russian forces. ... Russia, however, will likely continue to use the threat of a nuclear incident in order to curb the Ukrainian counteroffensive and reduce Western military assistance.”

Željko Trkanjec (UA) /

Stand up to nuclear provocation

Mikhailo Podolyak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, calls on Twitter and for the international community to take a firm stance against any actions by Russian forces at and in the nuclear power plant:

“A single public declaration by the world leaders could preserve us from a terrorist attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant: ‘Any provocation by Russia at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will immediately draw an equal response with the use of tactical nuclear weapons, with the corresponding concrete consequences’. But what do we hear instead? An absolute and very telling silence. ... Isn’t it time to stop making the same mistake over and over again?”

Michajlo Podoljak
Dserkalo Tyschnja (UA) /

No risk of another Fukushima

If there was a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, at least the surrounding area would not become uninhabitable, explains Mikola Gavris, a lecturer at the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, in Dzerkalo Tyzhnya:

“The biggest risk is that the Russians are unlikely to leave the nuclear power plant peacefully if the time comes for them to flee. They would probably try to blow up either the dry storage or the spent fuel pools. In the first scenario the surrounding area would be contaminated, but most of the radioactive material would remain in the storage facility. In the second scenario the interior of the Zaporizhzhia plant would be heavily contaminated. Outside the facilities, however, there would be virtually no radioactive contamination. A large-scale evacuation or even an exclusion zone would not be necessary.”

Mykola Gawris
NV (UA) /

IAEA playing down threat posed by mines

Olga Kozharna, a former member of the board of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, criticises the fact that the IAEA report on the mines around the nuclear power plant says they don’t affect its main safety functions. In NV she accuses IAEA chief Rafael Grossi of being biased in Russia’s favour:

“Such statements clearly show that Grossi tolerates having nuclear terrorists from Russia at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. The photo showing him in the arms of Renat Karchaa (in Russian state media Karchaa is described as a ‘nuclear expert’ and advisor to Rosatom chief — NV), and his warm words to him at the end of the mission, as well as his statements during the briefing at the nuclear power plant, are documentary evidence that the head of the international organisation is acting in the interests of the occupiers.”

Olga Kosharna