In the aftermath of the fire aboard the Delta-IV class SSBN Yekaterinburg, Russian officials–including Rogozin the Ridiculous–claimed that the sub had no weapons on board, and in particular, had no nuclear weapons.
A fire at a drydocked Russian nuclear submarine in December could have sparked a radiation disaster because it was carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and other weapons, despite official statements to the contrary, a Russian news magazine reported Monday.
The respected Kommersant Vlast said the fire aboard the Yekaterinburg could have triggered powerful explosions that would have destroyed the submarine and scattered radioactive material around a large area.
When the fire erupted on Dec. 29, Russia’s Defense Ministry said all weapons had been unloaded before the submarine was moved to a drydock for repairs at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region.
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The magazine said that an explosion of torpedoes, each carrying 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of TNT would likely have destroyed the bow and could have triggered a blast of nuclear-tipped missiles in the midsection and the vessel’s two nuclear reactors.
“Russia was a step away from the largest catastrophe since Chernobyl,” Komersant Vlast said, referring to the 1986 explosion at a nuclear power plant in then-Soviet Ukraine.
The magazine said that weapons are normally removed from submarines before repairs, but the navy wanted to save time on a lengthy procedure to unload the missiles and torpedoes. It said the repairs were supposed to be relatively minor and the Northern Fleet wanted the Yekaterinburg to be quickly back to service [emphasis added].
Cutting corners with nuclear weapons. Always a comforting thought.
Cutting corners with the truth. SOP.