Author Topic: Russian village evacuation as rocket blast sparks radiation fears  (Read 177 times)

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Online TomSea

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Russian village evacuation as rocket blast sparks radiation fears
Nyonoksa residents asked to leave within a day after last week's explosion that spiked radiation levels up to 16 times.

Russian authorities have advised residents of a village to leave while clear-up work is being carried out nearby following a mysterious rocket engine accident last week that caused a temporary spike in radiation, according to a report.

Russia's Rosatom nuclear agency said five of its staff were killed in the August 8 blast at a naval facility that tests ballistic missiles used by nuclear submarines. At least three people were injured.

The workers were providing support for the "isotope power source" of a missile and were thrown into the water from the testing platform in the White Sea by the force of the explosion.

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Offline thackney

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Re: Russian village evacuation as rocket blast sparks radiation fears
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 08:28:11 AM »
Russia Urges Villagers to Leave Radioactive Blast Site
Aug. 13, 2019

Authorities urged residents of a village in Northwestern Russia to leave their homes, days after a nearby Defense Ministry test of a nuclear-powered engine exploded, boosting radiation levels that alarmed nearby inhabitants.

Russian officials’ failure to release full details surrounding the explosion, which killed at least seven employees of Rosatom, Russia’s atomic energy monopoly, and of the Defense Ministry, have raised suspicions over the severity of the accident and whether officials are covering up details.

In a series of statements Tuesday that were as contradictory as previous ones surrounding the explosion, the local government urged several hundred residents of Nyonoksa, where the Defense Ministry testing site is located, to leave their homes on Wednesday morning. The statements didn’t provide details on why they were being asked to leave nor where they should go.

A municipal spokeswoman said the evacuation was due to an unspecified “event” at the test site nearby planned for Wednesday, according to Russian news agencies, but she gave no further details. Hours later authorities said the Wednesday event was cancelled but didn’t address whether the evacuation was still planned. The spokeswoman’s office didn’t return calls for comment.

With a lack of reliable information coming from local officials, residents of the region have taken to online community boards to ask questions and seek clarity. Meanwhile, the mayor of Severodvinsk, the largest nearby city, went on vacation, according to local reports....
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Offline Elderberry

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Re: Russian village evacuation as rocket blast sparks radiation fears
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2019, 06:59:57 PM »
U.S. Officials Suspect New Nuclear Missile in Explosion That Killed 7 Russians

NY Times By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer 8/12/2019

American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.

American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. But the Russian government’s slow and secretive response has set off anxiety in nearby cities and towns — and attracted the attention of analysts in Washington and Europe who believe the explosion may offer a glimpse of technological weaknesses in Russia’s new arms program.

Thursday’s accident happened offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site and was followed by what nearby local officials initially reported was a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.

Late Sunday night, officials at a research institute that had employed five of the scientists who died confirmed for the first time that a small nuclear reactor had exploded during an experiment in the White Sea, and that the authorities were investigating the cause.

Vyacheslav Solovyov, the scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, said in a video interview with a local newspaper that the institute had been studying “small-scale sources of energy with the use of fissile materials.”

But United States intelligence officials have said they suspect the blast involved a prototype of what NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall. That is a cruise missile that Mr. Putin has boasted can reach any corner of the earth because it is partially powered by a small nuclear reactor, eliminating the usual distance limitations of conventionally fueled missiles.

As envisioned by Mr. Putin, who played animated video of the missile at a state-of-the-union speech in 2018, the Skyfall is part of a new class of weapons designed to evade American missile defenses.

In several recent Pentagon and other government reports, the prospect of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missiles has been frequently cited as a potential new kind of threat. They are launched into the air and able to weave an unpredictable path at relatively low altitudes.

That makes them virtually unstoppable for the existing American antimissile systems in Alaska and California, which are designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missile warheads in space, traveling a largely predictable path.

Yet for all the hype, Russia’s early tests of the cruise missile appeared to fail, even before last week’s disaster. And Russia’s story about what happened Thursday in the sea off one of its major missile test sites has changed over the past four days as the body count has risen.

Beyond the human toll, American intelligence officials are questioning whether Mr. Putin’s grand dream of a revived arsenal evaporated in that mysterious explosion, or whether it was just an embarrassing setback in Moscow’s effort to build a new class of long-range and undersea weapons that the United States cannot intercept.

Many outside arms experts have long regarded his effort as part fantasy, using a technology the United States tried and failed to make work in the 1950s and 1960s. If so, it may call into question one of the Trump administration’s justifications for major new spending on American nuclear weapons to counter the Russian buildup — though the United States also cites a parallel program underway in China.

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