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LUCIR Talk: Protecting Nuclear Power Plants During War: Implications from Ukraine

Tuesday 10 October 2023
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
room 2.64

Nuclear facilities as war targets

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the direct targeting of nuclear power plants (NPP) was largely unimaginable in armed conflict. International humanitarian law (IHL) requires their protection, but since February 2022, Russia has directly targeted nuclear facilities, including the nonoperational Chornobyl NPP and the operational Zaporizhzhia NPP. Erika Weinthal will discuss how NPPs in Ukraine have come under direct attack, been occupied, and used for military purposes. She will highlight the challenges owing to (1) the complexity of NPP infrastructure and (2) the growing presence of international actors who have not had to engage previously in the protection of NPPs; and explore policy measures that might strengthen IHL and provide accountability mechanisms.

Erika Weinthal

About the speaker

Professor Weinthal specializes in global environmental politics and environmental security with a particular emphasis on water and energy. Current areas of research include (1) global environmental politics and governance, (2) environmental conflict and peacebuilding, (3) the political economy of the resource curse, and (4) climate change adaptation. Dr. Weinthal’s research spans multiple geographic regions, including the Soviet successor states, the Middle East, South Asia, East Africa, and North America.

Dr. Weinthal is author of State Making and Environmental Cooperation: Linking Domestic Politics and International Politics in Central Asia (MIT Press 2002), which received the 2003 Chadwick Alger Prize and the 2003 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize. She has co-authored Oil is not a Curse (Cambridge University Press 2010) and co-edited Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Earthscan Press, 2014) and The Oxford Handbook on Water Politics and Policy (Oxford University Press 2018).

She is a member of the UNEP Expert Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding and a co-editor of Global Environmental Politics. In 2017 she was a recipient of the Women Peacebuilders for Water Award under the auspices of “Fondazione Milano per Expo 2015”.

Other participants

Moderator: Anna Marhold (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies).

Discussants: Daniëlla Dam (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies) and Niels van Willigen (Institute of Political Science).

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