We all have a friend or two that we just don’t trust with certain tasks.
There’s the “always late” friend, who you never trust to meet you at the movie theater on time. There’s the “just a couple of drinks” pal who will be drunkenly slurring karaoke before the sun even sets on a Tuesday night. And there’s always someone in the group that you’d much rather not be riding shotgun with for fear of their driving.
On the international scene, Russia has carved herself a very specific one of of these niches: They’re the folks who you just can’t trust with nuclear technology.
From 1986’s Chernobyl catastrophe to last week’s “Skyfall” missile disaster, the Ruskies are just plain awful when it comes to responsibly handling their nukes…but that terrifyingly hasn’t stopped them from pushing the limits of the nuclear game.
This week is no exception.
Russian dancers pranced and a naval band played as a floating nuclear power plant dubbed “Chernobyl on ice” by its critics cast off from one of the world’s northernmost ports Friday.
The stations “are badly needed, not only in Russia but elsewhere,” Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s special presidential representative for environmental protection, ecology and transport, told the gathered dignitaries and reporters as Akademik Lomonosov — painted red, white and blue for Russia’s national colors — set off for the Arctic port town of Pevek.
For its supporters, the launch heralds a new era of development in the inhospitable Russian Arctic. If all goes according to plan, Lomonosov will be the first of several floating nuclear reactors powering remote outposts dotting the northern coast.
Unsurprisingly, there are concerns.
“Nothing is invincible,” Greenpeace International has warned. “It could flood or sink or run aground. All of these scenarios could potentially lead to radioactive substances being leaked into the environment.”
Greenpeace Russia has led protests against its development since it was announced in 2017, calling it dangerous. A Russian union representing the victims injured in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that resulted in thousands of cases of childhood cancer alone has also voiced fierce opposition to the plant with concerns it could put millions of lives at risk.
Greenpeace has called the project “Chernobyl on ice” and “floating Chernobyl.”
The move comes as Russia continues their arctic exploration initiatives – something that global observers believe could be in anticipation of a coming climate catastrophe.
As far as many are concerned, however, the more pressing catastrophe could be floating just off the coast of Pevek in a matter of days.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.