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US NewsNuclear-powered Soviet submarine leaks radiation: researchers

01:55  12 july  2019
01:55  12 july  2019 Source:   dw.com

Russian nuclear submarine which sank 30 years ago ‘leaks cloud of radiation’

Russian nuclear submarine which sank 30 years ago ‘leaks cloud of radiation’ A Russian submarine which sank in 1989 is still leaking radiation - with a remote submarine spotting a ‘cloud’ of material leaking out of a ventilatoin duct. The wreck of the Komsomolets lies on the bottom of the Norwegian Sea at a depth of about 5,577 feet. The Soviet-era nuclear submarine sank in April 1989 after a fire broke out on board. An inspection with a remotely operated vehicle called Aegir 6000 was the first to film the wreckage - spotting the ‘cloud’ of debris. The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said that radiation levels are 800,000 times higher than normal - but still pose no risk.

Norwegian researchers have detected a possible radiation leak at the site where the Soviet nuclear - powered attack submarine Researchers collected a water sample on Monday that showed radiation levels 100,000 times higher than what is to be expected in normal seawater.

A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor. The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" (typically diesel-electric) submarines are considerable.

A Soviet submarine is leaking radiation into the Norwegian Sea "clearly above what is normal in the oceans." But researchers said it posed no serious threat, saying radiation levels "weren't alarmingly high."

Norwegian researchers on Wednesday said they have documented a radiation leak from a sunken Soviet-era nuclear submarine.

"We took water samples from inside this particular duct because the Russians had documented leaks here both in the 1990s and more recently in 2007," said Hilde Elise Heldal of the Bergen-based Institute of Marine Research, who led the Norwegian expedition.

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A team of researchers claims to have detected radioactive material leaking from the former Soviet Navy nuclear submarine the ‘Komsomolets,’ which sank in 1989. One of three samples taken from the sub's ventilation pipe found radiation levels 100,000 times higher than those of ordinary seawater.

A total of nine nuclear submarines have sunk as a consequence of either accident or extensive damage. The United States Navy (USN) has lost two boats while five were lost in the Soviet Navy (one of which sank twice), and two from the Russian Navy.

Nuclear-powered Soviet submarine leaks radiation: researchers © Institute of Marin Research Norway/Ægir 6000 Provided by Deutsche Welle At 100 becquerels (Bg) per liter, the samples showed radiation levels up to 800,000 times higher than the Norwegian Sea's norm. But researchers noted that the increased levels of cesium in the water did not pose a significant threat to ocean wildlife or food products.

"After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, Norwegian authorities set this limit to 600 Bg/kg," said Heldal. "The levels we detected were clearly above what is normal in the oceans, but they weren't alarmingly high."

Nuclear-powered Soviet submarine leaks radiation: researchers © Stine Hommedal/Institute of Marine Research Norway The ROV Ægir 6000 gave scientists their first glimpse of the ship in more than a decade Deadly accident

In the 1980s, the Komsomolets was considered a state-of-the-art nuclear-powered attack submarine. However, it sank in 1989 when a fire broke out on board, killing 42 crew.

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Norway's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) says the pressurised water reactor powering K-278 in The radiation leak found this week came from a pipe near the reactor. The Norwegian radiation specialists and marine researchers were accompanied by experts from Russia's Typhoon

A team of researchers claims to have detected radioactive material leaking from the former Soviet Navy nuclear submarine the ‘Komsomolets,’ which sank in

The Komsomolets was carrying two nuclear warheads at the time, which were never recovered. It is unclear whether the radiation leaks stem from its reactor or the warheads.

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The Soviet submarine now rests nearly 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) underwater in the Barents Sea. Joint Norwegian-Russian operations have taken place annually to inspect the Komsomolets since the 1990s, according to the Institute of Marine Research.

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I was a child of Chernobyl.
The 1986 Russian disaster isn’t just compelling TV. It was my life. On April 26, 1986, when Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 exploded, I was a 10-year-old living 60 miles away, in the Soviet Ukrainian city of Kyiv. It was a sunny Saturday, and I had spent most of the day outside, playing with other kids from our apartment building. We squeezed through the wrought-iron gate in the far corner of the courtyard, then scaled a dilapidated wall around an archaeological site at the heart of the Old City.

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