nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Russia could resume subcritical nuclear bomb tests in Arctic

“The tests can be done in a laboratory. There are no environmental hazards in and of themselves, but [the tests] suggest Russia is preparing for something larger, and that may go in the direction of performing an ordinary atomic bomb test,” said Kudrik.

 

Russia last carried out a series of subcritical tests beginning in 1998, but the tests ceased in 2000.  These tests took place during the same time frame that the United States was ramping up subcritical tests of its own, said a recent report from the Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalization.

 

Russia’s unofficial floating of its plans for subcritical tests in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, speculated the Barents Observer news portal in Kirkenes, Norway, could be a response to US announcements that the US Department of Energy last month conducted underground subcritical testing of its own, according to the Canadian think-tank.

The Centre for Research on Globalization said in its report, published on September 30 that, “Since 2010, the US has ‘shot’ off three subcritical tests and has plans in late 2012 for ‘Pollux,’ a ‘first-of-a-kind demonstration’ combining a ‘scaled subcritical experiment’ with plutonium-239.”

Charles Digges, 03/10-2012

Russia has beefed up military security surrounding its old Arctic nuclear test archipelago of Novaya Zemlya in preparation for so-called subcritical nuclear tests of its old nuclear weapons, unconfirmed reports in Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper indicate.

“Today it is subcritical testing, tomorrow it could be more. Everything depends on world events,” continued Nikitin, a former Russian naval captain and nuclear inspector with the Russian Navy.

“If a war erupts between Israel and Iran, that would be a reason for standard nuclear tests. The day before yesterday, North Korea threatened South Korea with nuclear weapons – this too could be used as a reason to begin more than subcritical tests,” he said.  

Nikitin said that subcritical tests give a “more or less clear picture” of how nuclear warheads are affected by age and whether they can remain in their missiles or need to be replaced. 

Report a possible response to US subcritical tests?

Bellona’s first foray into Russian nuclear issues came in 1990when it sailed its vessel Genius to Novaya Zemlya to protest nuclear testing there. The boat was detained and later released by the Soviet coast guard.

Russia last carried out a series of subcritical tests beginning in 1998, but the tests ceased in 2000.  These tests took place during the same time frame that the United States was ramping up subcritical tests of its own, said a recent report from the Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalization.

Russia’s unofficial floating of its plans for subcritical tests in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, speculated the Barents Observer news portal in Kirkenes, Norway, could be a response to US announcements that the US Department of Energy last month conducted underground subcritical testing of its own, according to the Canadian think-tank.

The Centre for Research on Globalization said in its report, published on September 30 that, “Since 2010, the US has ‘shot’ off three subcritical tests and has plans in late 2012 for ‘Pollux,’ a ‘first-of-a-kind demonstration’ combining a ‘scaled subcritical experiment’ with plutonium-239.”

It continued to read that “[w]hat we’re seeing in real-time in September 2012 is a replay of 1998,” in reference to the US tests that triggered the Russian tests during the same time period.

The Soviet Union conducted 715 nuclear bomb tests between 1949 and 1990, the last occurring on Novaya Zemlya. Of those tests, 215 were detonated in the atmosphere between 1949 and 1962, with the remaining 500 being detonated from 1963 in underground bunkers.

Testing Russia’s aging stockpile – is something bigger on the way?

During the Soviet era, plutonium in warheads was replaced at least every 10 years, but the process was expensive and cumbersome.

Given the age of the Russian stockpile, the Rosatom source that spoke to Nezavisimaya Gazeta could be entirely correct in suggesting the supposed subcritical tests are merely an effort to determine what warheads should be scrapped.

But Bellona’s Kudrik remained concerned that Russia’s resumption of subcritical testing “suggests that they are preparing for something bigger.”

He said Bellona would continue to monitor the situation.

More here…

http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/novaya_zemlya_subcritical_tests

Advertisements

October 4, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: