Russia's underwater nuclear submarine junkyard

Posted: 10th September 2021

In the icy waters north of Russia, discarded submarine nuclear reactors

lie deteriorating on the ocean floor—some still fully fueled. It’s only
a matter of time before sustained corrosion allows seawater to eat its way
to the abandoned uranium, causing an uncontrolled release of radioactivity
into the Arctic. For decades, the Soviet Union used the desolate Kara Sea
as their dumping grounds for nuclear waste. Thousands of tons of nuclear
material, equal to nearly six and a half times the radiation released at
Hiroshima, went into the ocean. The underwater nuclear junkyard includes at
least 14 unwanted reactors and an entire crippled submarine that the
Soviets deemed proper decommissioning too dangerous and expensive. Today,
this corner-cutting haunts the Russians. A rotting submarine reactor fed by
an endless supply of ocean water might re-achieve criticality, belching out
a boiling cloud of radioactivity that could infect local seafood
populations, spoil bountiful fishing grounds, and contaminate a local
oil-exploration frontier.

 Popular Mechanics 17th Jan 2021

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