Background Briefing July 5, 2023


Alarming Reports That the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant Could be Blown Up

We begin with growing alarm at the possibility Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhya in Ukraine, which is now at the frontline in the current counteroffensive, could be blown up by the Russian occupiers in a false flag to be blamed on Ukraine or at the very least rendered inoperable by the Russians in a continuation of their campaign to destroy Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Joining us to assess whether there could be any radiological leakage following reports that the Russians are placing explosives on the roofs of reactors 3 and 4 is Mariana Budjeryn, a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center with the Project on Managing the Atom. She is the author of the new book Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine.


Can the IAEA Save Zaporizhzhya While Giving the Go Ahead to Dump Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Into the Pacific

Then we examine the role of the UN’s IAEA which has been issuing alarms since the Russians occupied the plant in March of 2022 and speak with Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists and an internationally recognized expert on nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism as well as nuclear power safety and security. He co-authored the critically acclaimed book, Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster and we discuss the IAEA’s decision to allow the operators of the ruined irradiated Fukushima plant to dump radioactive water into the Pacific ocean.


Biden Meets With Sweden’s PM Ahead of Next Week’s NATO Summit

Then finally we look into today’s White House meeting with President Biden and Sweden’s Prime Minister Kristersson ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania at which an attempt will be made to persuade Turkey’s Erdogan to stop his blockade of Sweden’s entry into NATO. Joining us is Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Free World Forum, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and  a former senior fellow at The Atlantic Council. A member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, he worked as a Swedish Diplomat in Moscow and served as an economic advisor to the governments of Russia and Ukraine. His books include Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It and Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path From Market Economy to Kleptocracy.