Nuclear explosion Russia 2019: Putin’s DOOMSDAY WEAPON goes wrong – deaths
Vladimir Putin is developing the nuclear-powered ‘doomsday weapon’ which is not only nuclear-armed but nuclear powered meaning it can theoretically stay aloft for months at time. The 9M730 Burevestnik, which is referred to be NATO as SSC-X-9 Skyfall, is an experimental nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile which the Russians claim is capable of hitting any target on Earth.
The Burevestnik/Skyfall with its unlimited range will “belch out radioactive fumes behind it”, an expert has warned, with last week’s spike in radiation levels in a remote area of Russia almost certainly caused by an accident involving the terrifying missile, experts have said.
One of six new strategic weapons unveiled by Mr Putin on March 1, Skyfall is widely believed to have the rocket which exploded at a test centre in the north-west of the country, killing five people and injuring several others.
Residents of the nearby village of Nyonoska were ordered to evacuate after measurements suggested radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk, 30 miles away, were 16 times higher than normal.
State nuclear corporation Rostatom said the accident involved an “isotope power source for a liquid-propelled rocket engine”, fuelling speculation that the accident was the result of a Skyfall test gone wrong.
US President Donald Trump subsequently tweeted: “The Russian ’Skyfall’ explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!”
Dr Mark Galeotti, from the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, told CNN: “This is a doomsday weapon really.
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It is a cruise missile that can stay in the air for a long time, but it is belching out radioactive plumes behind it
Dr Mark Galeotti
“It’s not something that could be deployed in anything other than a full-scale nuclear war.
“It is a cruise missile that can stay in the air for a long time, but it is belching out radioactive plumes behind it.”
Jon Hawkes, associate director of land warfare at Jane’s IHS Markit, suggested the Skyfall system could work one of two ways.
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It was either an “air-breathing engine employing a small nuclear reactor core to heat incoming air that is expelled to generate thrust” or a “nuclear thermal rocket engine, where the nuclear core is used to heat a liquid fuel such as hydrogen before expelling it through a nozzle to produce thrust.”
He added: “Given the Russians are claiming unlimited range, then one would assume it has to be along the lines of the first option, as the hydrogen fuel device would have a limit to its range.”
Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, refused to confirm the accident had involved a nuclear-powered missile, but insisted the incident would not prevent Russia from developing advanced military capabilities.
He added: “Accidents, unfortunately, happen. They are tragedies.
“But in this particular case, it is important for us to remember those heroes who lost their lives in this accident.”
If the Skyfall was involved, it would not be the first accident involving Russian nuclear technology in recent months.
Last month, the AS-31, or Losharik, a Russian spy submarine, hit problems off the superpower’s northern coast.
Officials said 14 sailors on board had died of smoke inhalation, although the Kremlin stressed the vessel’s nuclear reactor remained intact upon returning to port.
Other weapons of mass destruction being developed by Russia and unveiled by Mr Putin last year include the Poseidon, a nuclear drone capable of triggering deadly 300ft high tsunamis, and the Avangard, a hypersonic glide vehicle which can deliver both nuclear and conventional payloads.
Speaking to Business Insister last year in relation to the Poseidon weapon, Rex Richardson, a physicist who researches nuclear weapons, said: “A well-placed nuclear weapon of yield in the range 20 MT to 50 MT near a sea coast could certainly couple enough energy to equal the 2011 tsunami, and perhaps much more.
“Taking advantage of the rising-sea-floor amplification effect, tsunami waves reaching 100 metres in height are possible.
“Los Angeles or San Diego would be particularly vulnerable to fallout due to the prevailing onshore winds.”
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