Russian takeover of the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant


Used with permission from Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images

A Russian soldier stands guard at the Russian controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

Landon Stinson

As students are returning to school, the Russia-Ukraine war has reached its six-month mark, bringing new threats to the Ukrainian territory, much like the threat created by the ongoing situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Located in southern Ukraine, the power plant was overtaken by Russian soldiers in March. Although the plant is occupied by Russian forces, it is still being operated by Ukrainian workers, who shut down the last working reactor on Sept. 11. Despite this, the power plant is still being shelled, causing fears of a worldwide disaster, even amongst many students at WHHS.

“That could be catastrophic,” Matthew Smitson, ‘26, said when asked what might happen if the situation escalates. “It would get rid of the power that Russia and Ukraine need.” 

Recently, it has been said that Russia and Ukraine are engaging in talks to end the fighting around the plant after the United Nations called for the demilitarization of the area around it in August. They have since sent two experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the situation. However, these recent talks have not worried some students about the possibility of the situation escalating as much.

“I don’t think it will escalate much,” Zach Stucker, ‘26, said. “I mean, if they do, it’ll be a pretty bad situation for the powerplant.” 

Even if the conflict continues in Ukraine, Stucker doesn’t think the U.S. will face consequential effects, other than possible issues with the supply chains.

“I think this has always been a totally separate kind of European conflict. I mean, the only way it could really affect us is supply chains. We’ve seen that with gas prices going up,” Stucker said.

The situation is still escalating, however, some remain optimistic.

“If it doesn’t get destroyed, I don’t think it will have an impact,” Smitson said.