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What happened in the Severodvinsk Navy Test Area? Thoughts on Severodvinsk radioactive distribution and when it happened – analysis

John R. Haines *

(FPRI) – What happened on August eight in the Russian Severodvinsk Navy Test Area? This concern has drawn Western media attention for a number of days in a row. This New York Occasions report is typical:

“US intelligence officials have said they suspect the explosion is a prototype of what NATO calls SSC-X-9 Skyfall. It is a cruise missile that Mr. Putin has praised and can reach anywhere in the country because it is partially powered by a small nuclear reactor, eliminating the usual range restrictions on conventional missiles. As described by Mr. Putin, who repeated an animated video of a missile in a federal speech in 2018, Skyfall is part of a new class of weapons designed to circumvent American missile defense. "[2] [19659002] This area is an underwater airspace containing a number of test areas used by the Russian Navy for testing, evaluation and exercise. The Severodvinsk Navy Testing Area is located near the limited city of the White Sea, Severodvinsk, near the village of Nyonoksos (sometimes translated as Nekosa) and near the district capital Arkhangelsk ( alias Archangel). At that time, the new test area – at that time the "State Central Naval Range" ( Gosudarstvennyy tsentral & # 39; nyy Morskoy polygon ) – was the world's first ballistic missile launch from the submarine (albeit coated). [3] Severodvinsk has been an important center of the Russian Navy since the 1950s, a testimony to the year-round ice-free ports on the Kola Peninsula, and was acknowledged by Imperial naval designers in the second half of the nineteenth century. [4] [19659002] Something clearly happened in the Severodvinsk Navy Test Area (henceforth for the sake of "Severodvinsk"). The question is what.

<img src = "https://www.eurasiareview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/4F439F18-697C-4FF1-B7DD-9D89113C2793.png" alt = "Severodvinsk (red dot) Source: US Intelligence Service (19659007) Severodvinsk (red dot) Source: US Intelligence Service (19659008) Originally issued by the Russian Department of Defense on August 8, liquid fuel rocket engine explosion [5] unexpected later the same day Regnum and other Russian media questioned the defense ministry's claim. Revised Official According to reports, the incident was the result of a nuclear-powered cruise ship called 9M730 Burevestnik [NATO reporting name: SSC-X-9 Skyfall]which President Putin praised for its existence in his March 2018 speech. [9] Official statements identified the location of the incident as "an ocean offshore platform, approximately 40 km from Severodvinsk" and revised the explanation as "fuel that will be fired by liquid propulsion system during testing of the new Burevestnik intercontinental cruise missile" [10].

Vedomosti [11] Kommersant [12] and other Russian media then began to rely on reports from the New York Times and other Western media identifying the prototype of the Burevestnik missile. probable protagonist. This report was found ready for approval by expert commentators prior to the event of a possible in-flight crack that would result in the loss of the missile reactor in isolation. [13] It was also known from open sources that the Russian government's nuclear agency, Rosatom, sent aircraft during previous Burevestnik test flights to monitor radiation emissions (in this case, engine exhaust). Perhaps one of the reasons why Novaya Gazeta columnist Yuliya Latynina called Burevestnik the "flying flocks of Chernobyl" [14] ( staya letayushchikh Chernobyley ).

There is nothing particularly new about the Burevestnik concept. Rosatom describes his engine as an "isotopic power source for the installation of a liquid engine," which, as Novaya Gazeta points out, makes it a nuclear weapon, just like the US Super Sonic Low Altitude Missile (SLAM) program. in the early 1960s. Although SLAM relied directly on the air passing through the core of the engine, Burevestnik reportedly uses liquid metal to cool the reactor and transfer heat through the detector. [16] Burevestnik would be a major technological advance if Russian engineers were to succeed in developing a nuclear cruise guide that was small enough, as Mr. Putin said, to fit a US Tomahawk equivalent, considering that the SLAM was over 28 meters long, while Tomahawk was 5, 56 meters long (6.25 meters with its accent). [17]

Why should Russia value its weapons system, which was rejected by the United States in the early 1960s? One reason may be the asymmetric deterrent effect of nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range that could alleviate "some of the difficulties of this medium or long range challenge by helping Russians move around NATO air and sea control pockets to attack N [18] writes Ryan Kuhns, a program analyst at the National Nuclear Security Administration's defense programs.

The Severodvinsk case might have gone wrong with the Burevestnik prototype test. Although, from a technical point of view, it is certainly possible to use the thermal energy generated by radioactive decay to heat a liquid hydrogen fuel in a solid uranium, liquid radioisotope, or even gaseous uranium reactor, such technologies have not been power system would be involved and the liquid fuel engine would explode, the Severodvinsk case might well have been a test of a Russian space program gone wrong, possibly involving a small uranium-235-based fission reactor. The Severodvinsk venue makes sense: the Russian Navy participated in the country's space program in the 1990s and 2000s. There is also a technical precedent. In April 1965, the United States successfully tested a Space Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) 10A. SNAP 10A converted the heat of radioactive decay directly into electricity using a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). For example, the radioactive isotope strontium-90 has been used in both US and Russian RTGs.

If true, it could be suggested that the Russian government used a false Burevestnik accident story to support a larger, perhaps fictional, narrative of Russia. missile capability and the permeability of Western missile defense. The Department of Defense's 2019 Missile Defense Review [19] stated that "Russian strategy and doctrine emphasize mandatory and possible military use of nuclear weapons, including nuclear missiles in particular":

Russian leaders also claim that Russia has a new missile class, hyp HGVs) that move and typically travel at or above Mach 5 in the atmosphere. . . . Russian leaders also claim that Russia has a new class of missile, the Hypersonic Skid Vehicle (HGV), which will allow Russian strategic missiles to penetrate missile defense systems. Heavy vans challenge their missile defenses because they control vehicles that typically travel at speeds greater than Mach 5 and spend most of their flight at much lower altitudes than ballistic missiles. [20]

The Burevestnik prototype was considered Field Tested in January 2019, shortly after the document was published. Two months later, Mr Putin justifies his development with Russia's growing concerns about US missile defense capabilities. [21]

Another and much further possibility is that the Severodvinsk case was related to the advanced development of the advanced. , a subatomic analogue of a nuclear fusion reaction in the nucleus of hydrogen bombs. This speculation is largely based on conclusions, since there is no theoretical evidence that subatomic particles can be fused together in a way that releases energy. It is known from Rosotom reports that one of the victims of the Severodvinsk incident, Alexei Vushin, was working with technical devices for large hydron collider experiments to study elemental particles

. Putin has unquestionably learned what the 2016 RAND study called "Russia's modern propaganda model 'a fire of injustice.'" [22] "New Russian propaganda entertains, confuses, and confuses the public" [23] through "a large number of channels and messages and shameless not wanting to spread partial truths or outright fiction. "[24] They may be targets of the Soviet era, but they are clearly targeted by non-Soviet methods, as Gregory Simons, a Russian soft power and crisis researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, stated:

In the current system of media control, uses what can be considered, under certain circumstances, a relatively & # 39; Soviet & # 39; The objectives. However, it is clear that the means to achieve these goals are far from the old and outdated Soviet information management tools that use much more sophisticated means borrowed from the West. [25]

While it is true that much of modern Russian dezinformatsiya can be misunderstood to mean the truth of lies, most of the time it is directed at the concepts of truth itself and objective political fact, which is not always the case. The Severodvinsk case may be one of the exceptions where the Russian government sought to prove falsehoods in support of a broader narrative of the capabilities of Russian offensive missiles.

The Russian government may have chosen the approach of digital isolation [26] to control the Severodvinsk case. It would be noteworthy if so because it refers to the Russian government's custom techniques intended to incorporate the Russian dezinformatsiya in practice by using them instead of the supposed content – er (Western) ee ee (Russia). Russia's information strategies routinely acknowledge and exploit asymmetrically the fundamental weakness of the Western media digital realm, which is its need for a credible narrative that can withstand widespread and powerful playback as it evolves slowly. Perhaps most interesting in this case is how the Russian government seems to have approached credible deniability, usually a priority dezinformatsiya necessary. Researchers Corneliu Bjola and James Pamment explained the likely site of perversion – and its use in disguising sources of disinfection – in the context of Russian digital misrepresentation: Banning credible denial by supporters of digital counterfeiting is a critical step in a digital isolation strategy. As long as false information can be distributed with impunity, the advertised message will retain some credibility, especially when linked to a local account. [27]

However, here the element of disappearance is missing, while the objective of dezinformatsiya seems to be this: to establish – and when established, to confirm – an element of credibility. The issue of columnist Clarence Page's coins is "resettable credibility," which raises a "deeper question." namely, "Why did this hot story go public at all?" [28] The radiation contamination factor alone explains why the Severodvinsk case had to become public. While it does not say anything specific about the cause of the per se event without specific details, it does not bind a series of plausible explanations of which the Burevestnik with nuclear power is perhaps better because it expresses Russia's technological capabilities in the most positive sense.

What caused the Severodvinsk incident is not the first time such an incident has occurred. Example On June 7, 1960, a fire broke out inside the Shelter 204 at the Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center (BOMARC) facility at New Jersey's McGuire Air Force Base (technically on the shore of the Army at Ft. Dix with McGuire). Air force). The fire destroyed the Boeing CIM-10 BOMARC missile, which burned and thawed its nuclear weapons, destroyed the missile, and severely damaged the launcher's shield. Warheaded debris contaminated the asphalt apron and concrete floor of Shelter 204, which was later sealed by the Air Force with anchor paint and a six-inch layer of concrete to the most polluted areas. The fire destroyed parts of the canopy roof, allowing plutonium trapped in dust and smoke particles to be transported high and spread. Firefighters sprayed the shield for about 15 hours, allowing plutonium-contaminated water to drain into Shelter 204's leading sewer. A constructive earth dam containing contaminated water, which eventually decomposed, was enclosed across the ditch, after which it was deposited by the Air Force. an asphalt cover over the drain. The warhead and the remains of the Shelter 204 floor were bagged and placed in closed cans for disposal. High-quality nuclear material was transported to the Medina Air Force Base and then to the Ministry of Energy Pantex equipment in Amarillo, Texas. Although the exact amount of plutonium in the fighting game is classified, the Air Force later reported that about 300 grams of weapon-grade plutonium had not been reported in a Shelter 204 fire.

BOMARC was supersonic over long-range surface air. missile (SAM), designed to destroy attacking planes and airborne missiles. The CIM-10 BOMARC, used in North American air defense, was the first operational long-range SAM and the only ever deployed by the US Air Force. The McGuire plant was the first BOMARC site in operation when it was established in 1959, possibly thirteen in North America (including two in Canada), and remained online until 1972. In July 1985, New Jersey Governor Tom Kean said his administration had learned. that radioactive material had still contaminated a "substantial" portion of the now disused BOMARC site. In November 1992, the Air Force agreed to remove contaminated soil, construction waste, concrete, and asphalt from the area and submit it to a permit issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Utah. This work was finally completed in May 2004, and the following year, five hectares were declared contaminated and restored in 2007. Estimated $ 22.1 million was used.

Time proclaimed in 1986 that "the United States is the only country in the world where" covert "funding for" secret "wars is front-page news." [29] If true, then it is no longer so. The alleged Russian advanced weapon systems, whether or not they exist, help establish and reinforce fundamental Russian narrative that serves the strong, if lesser-heard purpose of dezinformatsiya . The Severodvinsk case may be an interesting example of this, and possibly arousing a five-decade-old idea of ​​nuclear cruise control. It also raised the most often overlooked image of all the missiles that are warheads aside, sensitive and temperamental instruments. When this danger emerged in New Jersey in 1960, it took the United States government four decades to recognize and purify it.


Unless otherwise stated, all sources are translated by the author.

* About the Author: John R. Haines is Co-Chair of the Eurasia Program, President of the Princeton Committee, and a Board Member at the Institute for Foreign Policy Research.

Source: This article is published by FPRI

. [1] The opening quotation is from John D. Rockefeller, published by Peter Collier & David Horowitz (1975). Rockefellers: The American Dynasty . (New York: Holt, Rindhart, and Winston) 59.

[2] "US. Officials suspect explosion of new nuclear weaponry that killed 7 Russians." The New York Times (Aug. 12, 2019). https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/world/europe/russia-nuclear-accident-putin.html Last accessed August 17, 2019.

[3] In September 1955, the Soviet Union launched the first submarine launch Ballistic Missile (SLBM), R-11FM [NATO reporting name: SS-1b Scud] It is a naval variant of the Soviet R-11 Zemlya Ballistic Tactical Missile The development of the R-11FM took place in three stages, the last culminating in the first successful submarine (surface) of the SLBM 16. September 1955 V-611 [NATO reporting name: Zulu V] Submarine B-67 in the White Sea Seven of the eight tests passed between September 16 and October 13, 1955. The R-11FM's short, 150-kilometer range made its launch pad vulnerable to submarine smile defense systems, and was soon replaced by the R-13, another nuclear-powered surface-launched SLBM at 600km.

[4] John K. Skogan (1986), Sovjetunionens Nordflåte 1968-85 . (Oslo: NUPI).

[5] "Minoborony ukazalo prichinu vzryva na poligone v Nonokse." ("The Ministry of Defense explains the cause of the explosion at Nekosa's training ground"). Regnum [published online in Russian 8 August 2019]. https://regnum.ru/news/accidents/2684885.html. Last used on August 17, 2019.

[6] "V Severodvinske zafiksirovali povysheniye urovnya radiatsii." ("Increased radiation levels recorded in Severodvinsk"). Regnum [published online in Russian 8 August 2019]. https://regnum.ru/news/2685091.html. Last used on August 17, 2019.

[7] Rosgidromet is an acronym for " Federal" Naya sluzhba po gidrometeorologii i monitoringu okruzhayushchey sredy .

[8] ASKRO is managed by the Directorate General of the Russian Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergency and Disaster Relief. It is an acronym for avtomatizirovannaya sistemos kontrolya radiatsionnoy obstanovki or "automatic radiation monitoring system".

[9] Putin announced in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018. "[T] he has created a small, ultra-powerful nuclear power plant that can be placed inside a cruise missile body identical to the X-101 or US Tomahk but at the same time it is capable of guaranteeing a flight distance of tens of times that is virtually unlimited. "TASS reports that when Putin spoke," he showed a video on the big screen modeling a nuclear-powered cruise missile that circulates the missile. defenses. In the video, the cruise missile flew at low altitudes above the rugged terrain and water. "See:" Putin proclaims the creation of an unstoppable nuclear missile. ” TASS [published online 1 March 2018]. https://tass.com/defense/992226. Final used on August 17, 2019.

[10] See for example: "Burevestnik" otpravyat na dorabotku. ” Specialist [published online in Russian 14 August 2019]. https://expert.ru/2019/08/14/burevestnik/. Final used in 2019.

[11] "NOW svyazala vzryv pod arhangel koms ispytaniyem rocket« Burevestnik »." Vedomosti [published online in Russian 12 August 2019]. https://www.vedomosti.ru/politics/news/2019/08/12/808632-raketi. Last used on August 17, 2019.

[12] “Vzryv v Nonokse ukrepil tax against SSHA against Burevestnik.” Kommersant [published online in Russian 13 August 2019]. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4060305. Final used on August 17, 2019.

[13] See for example: Valentin Vasilescu (2018). "MiG-31: Portal du Missile de croisière à propulsion nucléaire Burevestnik?" Réseau Voltaire [published online in French 4 October 2018]. https://www.voltairenet.org/article203314.html. Last accessed on August 17, 2019. There are tons of of kilos per sq. inch at numerous anchor factors, which may attain hundreds of psi. As well as, the temperature drop required to transfer heat from the gasoline to the air stream causes further strain on a number of thousand psi as a consequence of temperature differences. See Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, University of California (1959). Propulsion system of a nuclear energy plant (30 June 1959). https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/4217328. Last used Aug. 17, 2019. Yuliya Latynina (2019). "Malen'kiy letayushchiy Chernobyl". ” Novaya Gazeta [published online in Russian 12 August 2019]. https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/08/10/81561-malenkiy-letayuschiy-chernobyl. Final used on August 17, 2019.

[15] The USA launched the Pluto Venture in early 1957 at the Lawrence Livermore Nationwide Laboratory and later moved to Jackass Flats. In Might 1961, the world's first nuclear piston engine, the Tory-IIA, operated efficiently for a number of seconds. As imagined, the SLAM car would have an virtually unlimited range and would cross in circles throughout the ocean till advised to drop its multiple nuclear weapons at multiple targets. When it finally misplaced its flying power and crashed on the ground, the engine would have a very good probability of circulating deadly radiation in the coming months. Involved that it would provoke the Soviet Union to develop an analogous non-defense weapon, the Pluto challenge was canceled on July 1, 1964. See: https://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/Test_198:_Pluto / SLAM_ (LASV). Final used Aug. 17, 2019. Sean Gallager (2019). "A Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile explodes, producing a 'mini-Chernobyl'." Ars Technica [published online 12 August 2019]. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/08/russian-nuclear-powered-cruise-missile-blows-up-creating-mini-chernobyl/. Last used Aug 17, 2019.

[17] Ryan Kuhns (2018). "Nuclear Cruise Missile: Views on Russian Strategic Logic." The Next Era Nuclear Community [published online 15 June 2018]. https://nuclearnetwork.csis.org/nuclear-powered-cruise-missile-insights-russian-strategic-logic/. Final used Aug 17, 2019.

[18] Idem.

[19] Workplace of the Minister for Defense (2019). 2019 Missile Evaluate. https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jan/17/2002080666/-1/-1/1/2019-MISSILE-DEFENSE-REVIEW.PDF. Final used on August 17, 2019.

[20] Ibid. ., IV, 12 https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/russia-conducts-test-of-nuclear-powered-cruise-missile/. Last used on August 17, 2019.

[22] Christopher Paul & Miriam Matthews (2016). The Firehose Propaganda Mannequin of Russia's Injustice: Why It Might Work and Options to Fight It. (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation). https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE198.html.

[23] Giorgio Bertolin (2015). "Conceptualizing Russia's Information Operations: Information Warfare and Intrusion in the Context of Hybrid Warfare," IO Sphere (Jun. 2015) 10. Quoted in Paul & Matthews, op cit. [19659002] [24] Paul & Matthews, Op. Cit.

[25] Gregory Simons (2005). “Russian Crisis Management Communications and Media Management Under Putin.”

Arbets Reporter Working Paper No. 85 (January 2005) 24. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6b2a/5d28f2065a3822422fb31ec02f9b708a784b. Final used on August 17, 2019.

[26] The writer acknowledges the work of Corneliu Bjola and James Pamment. See: Bjola & Pamment (2016). "Digital Isolation: A Review of the Isolation Strategy in the Digital Era." International Affairs. 2: 2, 131-142. Reprint obtainable at https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:dc51ad77-3ae0-4ff3-ae93-d1a7a12197e6/download_file?file_format=pdf&safe_filename=digital%2Bcon 2Brevised% 2Bclean.pdf & ty. Final used Aug. 17, 2019. Clarinet Page (2012). “Keeping the Petraeus Case Cover.” Chicago Tribune (Nov. 14, 2012). https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2012-11-14-ct-oped-1114-page-20121114-story.html. Last used on August 17, 2019.

[29] Time (December eight, 1986). Cited by Ladislav Bittman (2008). “The Use of Democracy in Democracies.” Worldwide Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence . four: 2 (1990) 243.

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