Russian Nuclear Accident Highlights New Cruise Missile

Washington Free Beacon | 8/14/2019 | Bill Gertz
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An explosion in northern Russia last week highlights Moscow's continued work on a new strategic cruise missile powered by a nuclear reactor.

The blast took place off the coast of Nenoksa, a naval missile test site, on Aug. 8 and killed five people while briefly spreading radiation in the region.

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The site of the accident is near the port of Severodvinsk where Russian nuclear submarines are serviced.

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President Trump said Monday the United States is "learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia."

"We have similar, though more advanced, technology," he tweeted. "The Russian ‘Skyfall' explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!"

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The nuclear-powered cruise missile has been designated the SCC-X-9 Skyfall.

The Pentagon has not said anything publicly about the incident. The Defense Intelligence Agency declined to comment.

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A defense official said civilian experts who follow Russian military developments offered useful insights into the incident.

"Those insights, along with delayed and contradictory official statements by Russian officials and concerns expressed by citizens in social media there, appear to tell us something significant occurred," the official said.

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The Russian government initially lied about the incident, saying no radiation was released from the blast.

After increased radiation levels were detected outside Russia, Moscow changed its story and admitted that the explosion was caused by a failed test of the new nuclear-powered missile.

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News reports also stated that emergency workers treating people injured from the blast were wearing radiation protective suits.

The secrecy in handling the event echoed the initial reaction to the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl in 1987 that was dramatized in a recent HBO series.

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Authorities in the city of Severodvinsk, located near the test site, initially reported radiation levels had increased by between 16 times and 20 times normal levels on the day of the explosion.

(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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