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Karachi grid station blast falsely shared as explosion at nuclear facility

Claim shared by Twitter user @steve_hanke who often shares dubious information

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Claim: A video shows a powerful explosion that rocked “an operating nuclear power plant in Karachi”, Pakistan.

Fact: The video does not show an explosion at a nuclear power plant but a blast at an electrical grid station in DHA, Karachi.

On 12 June 2023, Twitter user @steve_hanke posted a video (archive) showing smoke rising from a building with the following claim:

“As expected, local authorities in Pakistan have been slow to report on a powerful explosion that rocked an operating nuclear power plant in Karachi. WATCH:”

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched keyframes from the video clip and found that it was quote-tweeted (archive) by Norbert Almeida, a safety and security advisor who posts updates from across Pakistan on Twitter.

Almeida wrote, “This fire in the local grid station in DHA phase 6 Karachi Pakistan resulted in 8 hours of power outage. This is not a generation unit & not nuclear. Drove past it a couple of hours later and am tweeting this 36 hours later. Have not turned into a nuclear zombie.”

We also found news reports — including one by Dawn.com (archive) from 12 June 2023 — that stated how a “grid station fire” left residents of Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) “without power for hours”.

Other Twitter accounts, such as @JustdoitZee (archive) and @Baahirezaman (archive), also posted about the blast at the DHA Phase 6 grid station “around 7 am”.

Virality

The tweet by @steve_hanke has been viewed close to 400,000 times, with more than 600 comments, 700 retweets, and 800 likes.

Moreover, while Steve H. Hanke — an economist — is also an applied economics professor at Johns Hopkins University, it is unclear if the aforementioned Twitter account is operated by the academic.

As expected, local authorities in Pakistan have been slow to report on a powerful explosion that rocked an operating nuclear power plant in Karachi.

The claim also appeared here in a Facebook video and here, here, and here in Facebook posts.

Conclusion: The video does not show a powerful explosion at a nuclear power plant in Karachi but a blast at an electrical grid station in an upscale neighbourhood.


Background image in cover photo: Kilian Karger


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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