The invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s military poses an unprecedented nuclear threat, with the country’s 15 commercial nuclear reactors at risk of potentially catastrophic damage. An attack or even an accident at any of these plants could render vast areas of the European continent, including Russia, uninhabitable for decades.
This interactive, regularly updating map (also available to view full screen) displays the locations of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as well as their proximity to Russian military forces at fixed time intervals since Russian forces entered Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Using publicly-sourced information to track the movement of Russian military forces, the map makes clear the vulnerabilities to Ukraine’s nuclear plants as a consequence of the Kremlin’s illegal invasion.
Find more information below on the data used to create the map as well as more detail on how to use this tool.
As a result of Putin’s war, Ukraine’s nuclear reactors and sites are at a severe risk of a major nuclear incident — either by consequence of direct military attack and damage to plants, or from damage to the off-site civilian infrastructure, and specifically the electrical grid. Greenpeace International reports on the specific risks and vulnerabilities of the two nuclear power plants in the south of Ukraine (Zaporizhzia and Yuzhnoukrainsk/South Ukraine) can be accessed by clicking each site on the map.
How to navigate the map
We hope this guide and the mapping is useful in trying to understand some of the complexities, risks and consequences for Ukraine’s nuclear power plants of Russia’s illegal military invasion. Here is an explanation of the map’s many features, from top to bottom:
The first icons in the legend give the option to include military activity through time in conjunction with the timetable (at bottom of the map) from the first day of the Russian invasion. Select ‘Russian military attacks’ to see reports as they occur in time; select ‘Cumulative Russian military attacks’ to show cumulative reports.
Scrolling down the box to see the movement of Russian forces in relation to nuclear power plants over time, click on the date icon starting with February 25 (the first day of reported data): this then shows in different shades where advances have been made, such as towards the Yuzhnoukrainsk/South Ukraine nuclear reactors, and where they have been forced back by Ukrainian armed forces.
The dateline at the bottom of the screen is linked to the first two legend icons in the box, showing military events through time starting on 24 February 2022 the first day of the Russian military invasion. The shaded Russian military areas show movement since 24 February 2022, but this does not mean territorial control by Russian forces.
A note on military data sources
The information on the location of Russian military forces is obtained from several sources, including from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the crowdsourced efforts of the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR) and the information they obtain from the wider public open-source intelligence community. We recognise, appreciate and fully support the efforts of the CIR, whose stated objective is to “provide reliable information for policymakers, journalists as well as justice and accountability bodies about the evolving situations both on-the-ground and online.” We will endeavour to ensure the military information in this map is updated daily.
The information, data and material published on this page, including the map, is provided for general purposes only. Greenpeace International has not independently verified the accuracy of the military and other data provided on the page as such we accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, which may arise from reliance on this map. This map is not intended to provide detailed or independently verified assessments of Russian military and violent attacks on the civilian population and the armed forces of Ukraine. Any and all information is subject to change without notice.
A note on nuclear power plant information
Ukraine has five nuclear power plant sites, four of which host a total of 15 commercial nuclear reactors, the other site being the Chornobyl plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, at reactor unit 4, in 1986. Greenpeace worked in Ukraine in the years after 1986, including radiation investigations and assessments on the hazards, some of which are available in this collection of scientific articles, this Greenpeace Research Laboratories Technical Report and this blog by Rashid Alimov. The other three reactors at Chornobyl were shut down between 1991 and 2000.
The map shows the four main operating nuclear power plant sites, plus Chornobyl. For the operating reactor sites, it shows population numbers within 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100km from the nuclear plant site. These numbers were prior to the Russian military attack and therefore almost certainly do not represent the precise populations numbers today; however they indicate the at immediate risk populations that would be the first to be subjected to radiation exposure in the event of a major release which of course is linked to emergency planning measures which in the time of a war are even more complex and vulnerable.