U.S. Intelligence released a report detailing information on the mysterious August 8th Russian explosion, indicating that a nuclear reactor was involved. The report highlights a cocktail of radioactive isotopes—the main byproducts of nuclear fission—which swept over a nearby town and were identified by the state weather agency Roshydromet. These decaying isotopes, chalked thick with radiation, were found to be large quantities of strontium-91, barium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140—all with half-lives (the time it takes them to half-way decay) between 83 seconds and almost 13 days.
Every single one of those is a fission product produced as part of a nuclear chain reaction. Nils Bohmer, a Norwegian nuclear-safety expert, speaking with the online newspaper The Barents Observer (which covers the Arctic Circle including Scandinavia and Russia), dryly surmised, “the presence of decay products like barium and strontium is coming from a nuclear chain reaction,” adding that it was evidence that it “was a nuclear reactor that exploded.” Joshua Pollack, a nuclear and missile proliferation consultant to the U.S. Government added darkly, “If anyone still doubts that a nuclear reactor was involved in this incident, this report should go a long way toward resolving that.”
Russia, ever true to its clandestine nefariousness, has provided little information, and the few statements Putin’s government has released seemed to flip flop with the exchange of sun and moon. Five scientists who worked directly on the project have died, rumors persist of gas mask convoys being delivered into the area, doctors being forced at gunpoint to sign non-disclosure agreements before treating the injured—all shades and hearsay cobbled together to paint a grim picture upon whose back the shapeless echo of Chernobyl grows louder with each day passed into speculative silence. There’s little down to the cause of this Russian explosion.
The report from the U.S. intelligence community also suggests the explosion may have resulted from a recovery effort to collect a failed test of the dubious Burevestnik “Skyfall” weapon—a devastating cruise missile powered by a nuclear core which Putin lauds as possessing “unlimited range”. While details still need to be flushed out, the report clearly hints that during the recovery mission to the bottom of the sea where the dead missile fell, one of the recovery ships exploded and triggered a subsequent explosion from the missile’s nuclear core. U.S. officials estimate that this same weapon was tested four times between late 2017 and early 2018 with similar failures being aborted into the ocean and then hunted for by submersible recovery initiatives.
So what does this all mean going forward? At a very base level, it indicates the increased role nuclear energy will play in shaping our world in the 21st century. From diabolical missiles to clean energy demands, the nuclear question appears entrenched in the center of our time. How we answer that question will determine both our future and the longevity of our planet. We do know, as a result of this Russian explosion and others, the public view of nuclear energy wanes.
At OTEK we have long recognized the undeniability of splitting the atom. Servicing the nuclear industry, not only in the U.S. but globally as well, has become one of our major outreaches over the last few years—towards this effort, we have become a Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed two new product lines specifically geared to help the nuclear I&C rooms with their digital transition in our NTM and SSAM models. Both tackle the financial and labor restrictions nuclear plants encounter under the regulations of NEI 08-09 for cybersecurity protection. The NTM operates fully compliant with 08-09 mandates, and the SSAM (by way of containing no critical digital assets) performs exempt from C.S. protocols.
With technology riding an upward arch uncertain to ever falter, we must be vigilant in our knowledge of nuclear energy and its potential. Otek stands firmly committed to that ideal.
For more information on our products or our nuclear commitment, please call our office at (520) 748-7900 or email our sales team: email@example.com