What is really going on at Zaporizhzhia?

Zaporizhzhia nuclear

On this week’s Nuclear Hotseat, Linda Pentz Gunter’s Hot Story looks at the confusing and alarming news coming out of Ukraine about the status of — and conflict around — the six reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Listen here.  An excerpt:

“What on earth is going on at Ukraine’s six-reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant? The stories that have been flying around the news cycle are positively eye-stretching. But many of them don’t pass the second-source journalistic gold standard, making it challenging to figure out what’s going on . . .

. . .”It’s pretty clear that the Russians have fortified the Zaporizhzhia site, turning it into a veritable arsenal, and using that weaponry to launch offensives into the contentious region of eastern Ukraine. It’s a sly tactic, because obviously the risks of firing back and causing a nuclear catastrophe provide an effective deterrent against any Ukrainian counter-offensive.

“However, the Russians claim that Ukrainian forces have in fact fired back at the nuclear plant. Ukraine categorically denies this. In a July 31st on-the-ground story from the site by the New York Times, Colonel Serhiy Shatalov asked the Times: ‘How can we respond? This is a nuclear site.’ 

“But in the same article, the Ukrainians did concede that they have executed some precision strikes while avoiding, “as much as possible”,  any damage to the reactors. “As much as possible”? Again, we don’t know what this means or whether the plant site has suffered any damage.”

And Libbe HaLevy’s Nuclear Hotseat guest, author and award-winning filmmaker Greg Mitchell, answers some of the eternal questions surrounding the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as we commemorate those tragic events this week. What was really going on behind the scenes? Mitchell recounts his findings, also published on his blog, Countdown to Hiroshima.


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