Nuclear-powered Cruise Missile Likely Source of Russian Explosion

Source: Brian Wang

A new russian nuclear-powered cruise missile was likely the source of an explosion in northern Russia last week that killed 7 people.

There was increased levels of radiation had been detected in areas near the site of last week’s explosion.

Called the 9M730 Burevestnik by Russia and the SSC-X-9 Skyfall by NATO, the cruise missile features a small nuclear-powered engine that enables it to fly long distances and conceivably allows it to circumvent missile defense systems. In March 2018, Russian President Putin bragged in a two-hour speech about new ICBM missiles, silent submarines and a nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Last week, an explosion occurred in Nyonoksa, a Dvina Bay port not far from the shipbuilding town of Severodvinsk, at a naval site that has been used for decades to test missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). In the hours that followed, city emergency officials in Severodvinsk reported a spike in radiation levels. The radition levels were 20 times higher than normal.

There are reports of panic buying of iodine drops in Severodvinsk. Emergency officials reported a spike in background radiation. The White Sea bay where both the shipbuilding port and the regional capital, Arkhangelsk, are located has been ordered closed for swimming and fishing because of the presence of toxic rocket fuel.

Other Russian Military Accidents in the Last 6 Weeks

Last month, there was an accident involving Russia’s Northern Fleet. A secretive surveillance submarine known informally as the Losharik suffered a catastrophic accident on July 2 while conducting tests in the Barents Sea. In all, 14 crew members were killed. Officials have released scant details about the sub, which is based at the Kola Peninsula port of Severomorsk, and what exactly occurred during the fire.

Earlier this week, a series of massive explosions destroyed an arms cache in Siberia, sending blast waves and plumes of black smoke into the atmosphere, and devastating nearby settlements.

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