(Popular Mechanics) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin has admitted that a December 2011 incident involving a nuclear missile submarine almost became one of the worst nuclear weapons disasters ever recorded.
The Ekaterinburg, a ballistic missile submarine, caught fire in drydock, threatening its load of liquid-fueled nuclear missiles. If the missiles had caught fire, then the resulting explosions would have spewed radioactivity over a wide area, threatening a nearby town of 300,000 people.
The nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-84, also known as Ekaterinburg, had made a quick stop in drydock before heading out on a missile patrol. The ship was surrounded by wooden scaffolding for a welding job on the bow when a fire broke out. […]
Russian nuclear weapons analyst Pavel Podvig mentioned the incident at the time on his blog, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. On February 25, Podvig linked to another article* on Twitter, a Kommersant newspaper interview with Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin. Rogozin was Moscow’s point man on the incident and rushed to the Russian naval base at Murmansk when it happened. Rogozin states that the Ekaterinburg “did not unload the ammunition set for repair: there were torpedoes on it, and regular ballistic missiles. […]
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* The title of this post is based on Pavel Podvig’s Tweet.