August 8 explosion in Russia: recovery of a nuclear-powered missile?

The explosion of 8 August 2019 in Russia, which led to the dispersal of radioactive material detected more than 30 kilometers away, allegedly took place during a mission to recover a nuclear-powered missile that fell on the seabed. This is a serious event, says the independent body the Commission de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur la Radioactivité (CRIIRAD).

The data on the radioactive contamination of the air about 30 kilometers from the site of the explosion published by Rosguidromet on August 26, 2019 showed, without question, that there had indeed been some nuclear fission reactions, but for CRIIRAD, several hypotheses could be envisaged on the nature of the device at the origin of the explosion (see CRIIRAD press release dated August 28, 2019).

In an article published on August 29, 2019, the US magazine CNBC reveals that, according to people who have access to US secret service reports, the explosion would have occurred during a recovery mission to save a nuclear-powered missile, resulting from an earlier test and lying on the seabed. It would be the Burevestnik missile (The CRIIRAD had made reference to this missile in its press release of 9 August 2019).

According to CNBC, it has already been tested 4 times between November 2017 and February 2018, then once in 2019. Each test would have ended in a crash, the Americans estimated that the longest flight would have lasted a little over two minutes, the missile traveling 22 miles before crashing. “The tests apparently showed that the nuclear-powered heart of the cruise missile failed to initiate”. “There was an explosion on one of the vessels involved in the recovery, and that caused a reaction in the missile’s nuclear core which lead to the radiation leak”.

This two-step scenario is consistent with Norwegian NORSAR observations based on seismographic and acoustic surveys (see CRIIRAD press release of 28 August 2019).

These revelations are consistent with observations concerning the emission of radioactive noble gases, fission products, krypton and xenon isotopes whose solid radioactive offspring were detected at 30 kilometers (see CRIIRAD press release dated August 28, 2019).

It is essential that all the light be shed on the circumstances of the August 8 explosion and on the exact nature of the nuclear propulsion system.

This event is serious

The use of weapons in general and nuclear weapons poses serious ethical and security problems, but the addition of nuclear propulsion devices in missiles poses even greater risks and must be strongly denounced.

Clearly, the Russian authorities are placing additional health risks on the local population for the sake of hiding information about what really happened. Doctors at the Arkhangelsk Hospital have treated seriously contaminated victims of the explosion without being informed beforehand.

To date, no data has been given on the contamination of the marine environment (seawater, fish, algae, sediments of the seashore). But a Russian captain, at a public meeting (filmed by a participant) yet asked the local population not to try to recover the debris related to the explosion because of the risk of radioactive contamination.

Contact:, Engineer in Nuclear Physics at the CRIIRAD laboratory


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