An explosion wrapped in the mist Russian

First it was two dead, then five. At the beginning it was stated that the radioactivity levels were normal, then there is an ordered evacuation that in the end

An explosion wrapped in the mist Russian

First it was two dead, then five. At the beginning it was stated that the radioactivity levels were normal, then there is an ordered evacuation that in the end he gave back. The contradictory information and eyedropper has surrounded the mysterious explosion on the 8th of August in a remote military base in the north of Russia, along the White sea. Days after the blast, Moscow ended up recognizing that the accident was linked with testing “new weapons”. By then, the population living in the area of the military base, in Nionoksa, rushed to buy iodine pills, which are used to limit the effects of exposure to radiation. The case illustrates the secrecy in which the Russian Government involves incidents related to its nuclear facilities and weapons.

What test were going on the russians? It is not yet known with certainty, as also not the real danger to the population, particularly the Nionoksa. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the explosion caused two dead and six wounded, and said that there was no radioactive contamination and the radiation level was “within normal”.


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however, in the nearby Severodvinsk (185,000 inhabitants), Ksenia Yúdina, spokesman for the city Council, he stated that yes they had registered a small increase, although he later reported that it had only lasted about 40 minutes. Even so, the authorities closed temporarily the navigation in a part of the bay of Dvina in the White sea, and some Russian sources reported that the detonation had been caused by the poor handling of some kind of weapon.

Four days after the accident, the agency atomic Russian (Rosatom) acknowledged that the incident was related to testing weapons. What he did during the funeral of the victims, deemed “national heroes” and that in the end turned out to be five scientists. Took place in Sarov (95.000 inhabitants), a city closed to foreigners and one of the centers of nuclear research most important in the country. Rosatom said that the accident occurred when they were carrying out tests with “sources of isotopes” of a propulsion system fluid, but not clarified further. The scientists of the Centre Federal Nuclear stated, however, that what was tested was a nuclear reactor small part of the drive system of a “computer military”.

This led him to conclude the majority of specialists that the trials were a type of cruise missile ultra-modern of the that he had reported proudly to the president, Vladimir Putin, during the speech state of the nation in 2018. The so-called Skyfall by NATO and Burevéstnik by the russians has a small nuclear reactor in your drive system that enables it to fly at relatively low heights; in addition, it can maneuver in mid-flight, what makes it invisible to air defense systems.

The military expert independent Alexander Goltz says that “it is logical to assume that what exploded on the 8th of August was a Burevéstnik”, since the polygon where it occurred “is intended to missile tests”, and “it is unlikely that the Ministry of Defence to work simultaneously on different types of missiles that use power equipment nuclear”.

last Tuesday, the authorities acknowledged that the levels of radiation itself is kept above the usual levels. In Severodvinsk, the gamma radiation ranged between 4 and 16 times the normal rate, although they are levels far considered lethal. In Nionoksa, the epicenter of the event, he announced an evacuation, and then qualified that it was a simple recommendation.

Since the times of the Soviet Union, Moscow has become a tradition to hide information when it comes to serious events, although in some cases can have serious consequences for the population. The most known case is the catastrophe of the explosion of the third reactor nuclear power plant of Chernobyl (the present Ukraine) in 1986. The Kremlin tried to conceal by all means the extent of what happened and the consequences that this had for the nearby towns, trying to minimize the degree of contamination even when it reached levels lethal. For the experts, the explosion in Nionoksa seems tiny in comparison.

Missing information

The Government tried to initially hide the tragedy of the nuclear submarine Kursk in 2000 -118 dead, and declared secret by the investigation of the fire on the submersible Losharik, also of nuclear propulsion, in last July, which left 14 dead.

The distrust this strategy of silence is not just the outside. After the explosion of Nionoksa, the citizens reacted as they dictate the experience: they did not believe the information reassuring and ran to buy iodine.

The ecologist Svetlana Babenko, who lives in the area of the event, says by phone that the situation now is “normal”, that there are “no concern”. Alexandr Yufrakov, of the Laboratory of Ecology of the Academy of Sciences, argues that in Severodvinsk and Arjánguelsk, where it resides, there is no longer fear, but “a great upset by the lack of information”. And Alina, student of Arjánguelsk, says: “we do Not have the feeling of sitting on a powder keg”.

Not all have it so clear. “We do not know what amount of radioactive substances fell to the environment,” says the analyst of military Pável Felgengauer. It is not known what isotope it is, since the authorities do not give this information”. To be uranium-232 and a pollution of coastal waters, it could affect the food chain and “the consequences would be felt for many years.”

Updated Date: 18 August 2019, 14:27

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