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Russia’s vaunted, invincible nuclear-powered missile has been lost as sea, creating a possible environmental incident due to inherent radiation leaks.
A nuclear-powered Russian missile remains lost at sea after a failed test late last year, and Moscow is preparing to try to recover it, according to people with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report. Crews will attempt to recover a missile that was test launched in November and landed in the Barents Sea, which is located north of Norway and Russia. The operation will include three vessels, one of which is equipped to handle radioactive material from the weapon’s nuclear core. There is no timeline for the mission, according to the people with knowledge of the report. The U.S. intelligence report did not mention any potential health or environmental risks posed by possible damage to the missile’s nuclear reactor, reported CNBC.
Russia tested four of the missiles between November and February, each resulting in a crash, people who spoke on the condition of anonymity previously told CNBC.
The Kremlin has declared the weapon has unlimited range and will be operational by 2020. Failures during testing are normal but the public knowledge of 4 crashed tests does not bode well for the image of strength Moscow is attempting to project.
Russia has denied any missile failures.
“It goes without saying that if you fire a missile with a nuclear engine or energy source, that nuclear material will end up wherever that missile ends up,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
“If this missile was lost at sea and recovered in full, then you might hypothetically be able to do it without pollution, I would have my doubts about that because it’s a very forceful impact when the missile crashes. I would suspect you would have leaks from it,” Kristensen added, reported CNBC.