Russia is preparing to search for a nuclear-powered rocket that has disappeared at sea according to sources with access to a US intelligence report.
General Manager Nils Bøhmer of ‘Bellona’ wrote on Twitter that he is concerned about the news.Bøhmer worked in the Norwegian Radiation Protection Agency before joining Bellona Russia Group and working closely with questions related to nuclear accidents and Russia.
Russian President,Vladimir Putin, announced earlier this year of a new nuclear rocket with unlimited reach. However,the rocket type crashed all the time while it was tested – four times in the period from November to February according to anonymous sources that the CNBC channel has spoken to.
The information is derived from American intelligence.
A rocket that was tested in November, was according to the source, in the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia.Three vessels are said to be trying to find it, one of them equipped to handle radioactive material.
The US intelligence report does not mention potential health or environmental risk factors related to possible leakage from the weapon if it should be destroyed. However, there is considerable concern that there may be leakage.
“It goes without saying that if you are firing a missile powered by nuclear engine or energy source, nuclear material will end up in the same spot as the missile,” said Hans Kristensen, affiliated with the Federation of American Scientists, leading the Nuclear Information Project.
“If the rocket is lost at sea and found completely, then there may be a hypothetical opportunity to do it without pollution, but I have my doubts there,” said Kristensen.
In a speech to the Russian National Assembly on March the 1st, Putin announced that Russia is in the process of developing more new nuclear weapons that can not be stopped by other countries’ missile shields.
Among the weapons was an underwater tower that could be equipped with nuclear weapons to hit both aircraft carriers and navy bases,and a new nuclear ‘cross-rocket’ with unlimited reach.
The intelligence report revealed that the United States has information that Russia had been testing four nuclear-powered missiles.One crashed after just four seconds. The one that held the longest managed just two minutes.
Russia has denied the failed tests. It is not known if there are more missiles lost after the tests.
The weapon has been under development since the beginning of the 2000s and is expected to use a gasoline-powered engine to take off before it switches to the nuclear-powered engine according to the CNBC source.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today