Russia’s military has long been pushing the bounds of nuclear-capable missile technology, in a race to command supreme authority in a do-or-die doomsday of mutually assured destruction.
Some of the more terrifying developments in weapons testing have come from Russia as of late, with hypersonic missiles looking like the Kremlin’s next big thing. These devices will fly at supersonic speeds, and would be far too fast for our traditional defenses to intercept.
Much of the testing and development of these devices take place in secretive cities in the remote and vast Russian landscape, and only become known to the rest of the world through whistleblowers or disasters that register on global monitoring equipment.
The latter possibility seems to be precisely what is occurring in Russia right now, as several scientists were killed in an accident correlating with a brief but powerful spike in radiation for the region.
Five Russian nuclear engineers who died in a rocket engine explosion have been buried in Sarov, a closed town 373km (232 miles) east of Moscow, where nuclear warheads are made.
The Russian state nuclear agency, Rosatom, said the experts had been testing a nuclear-powered engine. But it gave no further technical details.
The test was on an offshore platform in the Arctic, at a naval test range.
Russia has previously tested a nuclear-powered cruise missile, “Burevestnik”.
But officials did not specify the system involved in Thursday’s disastrous test.
The explosion was followed by a 40-minute radiation spike in Severodvinsk, a city 40km (25 miles) east of the Nyonoksa test range, by the White Sea.
Russia has been notoriously secretive regarding their nuclear programs throughout history, as evidenced with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of the 1980’s, and a recent fire aboard a nuclear submarine that killed 14 Russian sailors near Norway.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.