Secret Soviet Nuclear Waste Dumping and Submarine K-27

The BBC is reporting, several months after “Russian Times” and other Sov- errr, Russian, (Cue John Lovitz “yeah, that’s it…” routine from SNL) media outlets have, on the plight of the remains of nuclear submarine K-27 that lie 30 m (yes, that’s 98 FEET….) under the icy waters of the Kara Sea off Novoya Zemla. Apparently, the mass dumping of nuclear waste by the Soviet Union, including several cargo ships loaded up and scuttled in these waters, is posing a problem for oil and gas exploration in the area. I am or course, shocked. Shocked. I mean, the whole BP in the Gulf freak-out a couple of years is a drop in the ocean compared to this, but where was Greenpeace at the time? Oh, I forgot. Greenpeace only went after western targets back then. At least Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Society had the balls to take on Soviet whalers during the Cold War, but I digress…..

 

K-27 was a prototype attack submarine using a November-class hull fitted with a unique for the time form of nuclear propulsion system. K-27 and its captain crew had balls too. In 1965 during NATO naval exercises off Sardinia, the submarine played ‘chicken’ with the aircraft carrier USS Randolph by taking a run at the ship while performing the steps necessary to launch a nuclear-tipped torpedo. This was judged by the US Navy to have been a successful attack as K-27 was not detected until it was in range and had a firing solution….

In operation as of 1963, the rushed nature of her crew training (Cue: “K-219: The Widowmaker” or if you prefer, “Hunt for Red October”) produced a situation during a 1968 cruise where the reactor system vented “fission products” into the engine room, contaminating all present and threatening the ship. On return, K-27 was laid up permanently and over 30 of her crew of 124 later died. The decision was made to scuttle her in either 1981 or 1982. Even this mission was nearly a failure as she was sunk in shallow water. Apparently a ship had to ram the submarine’s pressure hull to get the thing to sink.

 

BBC reports that nineteen other Soviet ships loaded with nuclear waste were scuttled in the Kara Sea, as well as 14 nuclear reactors, and 17 000 other containers full of radioactive material.

And the “Rainbow Warrior” was where at the time? Probably bugging the French in the sunny Pacific. It’s much better eating granola and tofu there than the cold, dark Kara Sea. But then “Rainbow Warrior” met her fate at the hands of the French special action service of the DGSE.

 

“Forty years I’ve been at sea. A war at sea. A war with no battles, no monuments… only casualties.”

-Captain Marko Ramius, “The Hunt for Red October.”

 

 

Hope Exxon or Gazprom drill carefully…….

 

More waste disposal….

 

Thanks to Russian Times and Bellona.org and The Lean Submariner for the pix

 

(And  Lust for Rust too!)