Russia nuclear accident: Why have four nuclear stations gone eerily quiet after explosion? – Express.co.uk
On August 8, an explosion occurred at a Russian missile testing facility in Severodvinsk, and since there have been concerns around possible increasing radiation levels. There have been reports Russia has not fully divulged what happened in the accident at a military base in the far northern Arkhangelsk region. Now, it appears four nuclear monitoring stations have gone quiet in the days following the accident.
According to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), there are four Russia-based nuclear monitoring stations which have mysteriously stopped transmitting data following the explosion.
The CTBTO is an independent body which monitors for nuclear weapons testing violations and has more than 300 monitoring stations around the world.
Two Russian radionuclide stations, Dubna and Kirov, stopped transmitting data within two days of the explosion, the organisation said.
A spokesperson told CNN: ”According to our routine global procedure, the CTBTO contacted the Station Operators as soon as the problems started.
“They have reported communication and network issues, and we’re awaiting further reports on when the stations and/or the communication system will be restored to full functionality.”
Later, on August 13, the CTBTO reported another two stations had gone quiet.
A senior CTBTO official told CNN: “Experts continue to reach out to our collaborators in Russia to resume station operations as expediently as possible.”
The monitoring stations are part of an international network, set up to ensure countries abide by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The explosion on August 8 killed five nuclear experts and radioactive iodine was measured in the air over the northern Norwegian coastline.
It appears the accident happened during a test of Russia’s Burevestnik missile, also known as Skyfall.
What exactly Skyfall is or contains is unknown, but the spiking radiation levels has led experts to guess it is some kind of cruise missile which is designed around a nuclear reactor.
However, some evidence suggests the radiation which was released by the explosion was localised and small scale.
Experts say a nuclear-powered cruise missile would release far more.
Edwin Lyman, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists said: “When the US deliberately blew apart a nuclear rocket engine at the Nevada Test side in 1965 to see what would happen, the peak gamma dose rate 25 km downwind was 700 microSieverts per hour – hundreds of times greater than what was observed in Severodvinsk.”
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, did not comment on growing worldwide speculation but said the accident would not halt Russia’s efforts to develop enhanced military abilities.
Mr Peskov added: “Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies.
“But in this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident.”