In its November 21 assessment of the Russian offensive campaign, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War addressed the reported artillery attacks on the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) saying that Russia’s “continued conflation of radiological and nuclear accidents and the constant discussion of the threat of disaster at the ZNPP is likely part of a wider Russian information operation meant to undermine Western support for Ukraine and frame Russian control of the plant as essential.”
Two days of shelling caused widespread damage to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on November 20 and 21 . The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated on November 21 that there are no immediate nuclear safety and security concerns and that the integrity of all six nuclear reactors and the spent and fresh fuel storage facilities remain uncompromised despite the intense shelling.
One Russian milblogger referenced a video of the shelling taken by Chechen forces and stated that it appeared the shelling came from positions in Russian-controlled territory south of the ZNPP, not Ukrainian-controlled territory north of the ZNPP.
Russian nuclear operator Rosatom Head Alexey Likhachev warned of a nuclear disaster at the ZNPP, and Russian milbloggers largely amplified his statements and called for the transfer of all Ukrainian nuclear power plants to Russian operation.
Artillery strikes themselves are unlikely to penetrate the containment units protecting each nuclear reactor and instead pose a greater threat to the spent nuclear fuel storage facilities, which could leak radioactive material and cause a radiological (as opposed to nuclear) disaster if compromised.
The continued conflation of radiological and nuclear accidents and the constant discussion of the threat of disaster at the ZNPP is likely part of a wider Russian information operation meant to undermine Western support for Ukraine and frame Russian control of the plant as essential to avoid nuclear catastrophe in order to consolidate further operational and administrative control of Ukrainian nuclear assets and compel elements of the international community to recognize Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory at least obliquely.
- Zaporizhzhia NPP was disconnected from the electricity grid due to Russian shelling, diesel generators are working for NPPs own needs (Nov 3)
- The last ZNPP’s power unit No.6 disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid
- Part of IAEA mission leaves Zaporizhzhia NPP – Energoatom
- Multiple rocket launchers located nearby Zaporizhzhia NPP territory – CIT
- Russia rejects proposals to create demilitarized zone at Zaporizhzhia NPP
- Zaporizhzhia Oblast Head urges international community to demilitarize 50 km zone around Zaporizhzhia NPP
- UN Secretary General calls for demilitarized zone around Zaporizhzhia NPP
- Russian occupiers fired missiles at the Zaporizhzhia NPP – Energoatom
- EU condemns Russian shelling of Zaporizhzhia NPP
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