A potential disaster is brewing in the icy waters north of Russia as sunken nuclear submarines slowly decay beneath the surface.
The status quo in the area has reportedly led experts to call the region an “underwater Chernobyl,” where thousands of tons of nuclear waste are waiting to emerge from their containers in the frigid waters of the Kara and Barents Seas. The ship graveyard stretches into the waters off the coast of northern Russia, littering the seabed with more than 17,000 objects, including 18 nuclear reactors and three sunken nuclear submarines.
Knewz Article – Russia’s Northern Seas Conceal ‘Slo-Mo Chernobyl’ as Sunken Nuclear Submarines, Soviet Era Reactors Leak Radiation https://t.co/9zgjG0vg6O
— DefenceSynergia (@DefenceSynergia) September 21, 2023
According to The Sun, their deteriorating condition poses a serious threat as the waste from these submarines is estimated to be 6.5 times the size of Hiroshima.
What makes the situation even more alarming is the fact that some of the nuclear waste is only 30 meters deep, putting the Russian-made radiation threat dangerously close to humanity.
The uranium-filled reactors are expected to eventually begin releasing large amounts of radioactive material and turn the region into a ticking time bomb.
In addition, experts fear that the highly concentrated nuclear rods of some submarines could implode underwater, leading to a catastrophic event similar to the one in Hiroshima.
Thomas Nielsen, editor of The Barents Observer, warned: “We cannot let these reactors just sit there. We know that sooner or later the radionuclides will leak out.”
EXPERTS have warned of a “slo-mo Chernobyl disaster forming in icy waters north of Russia as dozens of nuclear submarines rot deep below the surface
In the Kara and Barents Sea, thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste equivalent to 6.5 Hiroshimas lie in a frigid underwater graveyard pic.twitter.com/wguCPN2daZ
— globalnews1479 (@global1479) September 20, 2023
A 1993 report commissioned by former Russian President Boris Yeltsin described the situation as “critical”, according to The Sun.
However, Russia has since denied dumping “high-level waste” into the oceans, despite previous reports and admissions of dumping some nuclear waste at sea – a practice that violates the 1983 London Waste Disposal Convention, an agreement from which the Soviet Union was part.
In the Kara Sea, many of the discarded reactors still contain radioactive fuel rods, and one of the submarines, the K-159, lies with unsealed reactors open to the elements, spreading nuclear radioactivity into the waters.
In response to growing concern, Russia announced an initiative to retrieve the radioactive elements from the seabed.
However, experts believe it will take decades for this effort to materialize.
In addition, Finland, in cooperation with Norway, Iceland, the EU, the US, the UK and Russia, has started a project to bring the most dangerous objects back to the surface.
Russia’s nuclear sub graveyard is ‘slo-mo Chernobyl’ as experts fear ‘6-Hiroshima’ blasthttps://t.co/K2p2JfjNbz pic.twitter.com/tC8IQGpvNP
— Daily Star (@dailystar) September 21, 2023
However, the war in Ukraine halted this initiative, and Russia withdrew from the Russo-Norwegian Nuclear Safety Commission, leaving other countries in the dark about the exact location of radioactive waste in their seas.
Meanwhile, Ozersk, a Russian town of about 82,000, is the birthplace of the Soviet Union’s nuclear program. It is almost completely cut off from the outside world, with residents needing special visas to leave and foreigners barred from entering.
Inside Russian nuke sub graveyard where reactors rot ‘like slo-mo Chernobyl’ & ‘6 Hiroshimas’ could BLOW under surface https://t.co/IAxnKR86fl
— The Irish Sun (@IrishSunOnline) September 21, 2023
Barbed wire fences line the city limits with “no trespassing” signs. Ozersk has been called the “graveyard of the earth”, it contains the “lake of death” and is said to be even more radioactive than Chernobyl.