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Linguofreak Linguofreak is offline
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Default Apparent accident with testbed engine for Russian SLAM-style missile
by Linguofreak 08-12-2019, 11:16 PM

I'm surprised nothing has shown up about this on OF yet:

https://arstechnica.com/information-...ini-chernobyl/

The article is a bit sensationally titled, but the upshot is that the Russian government had prevously announced plans for a SLAM-style nuclear-scramjet cruise missile, and recently experienced an incident with an "isotopic power source for a liquid engine installation" on an offshore barge that was apparently being used as a test stand, with an accompanying spike of radiation levels observed in a nearby city.

The Russian government, naturally, hasn't plainly stated that this accident was related to their nuclear-scramjet program, but it's not at all hard to read between the lines.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:32 PM   #2
MaverickSawyer
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they've been doing test since at least 2017, and reports I've seen indicate they've not gotten it to work properly, and they wound up dumping at least one live reactor core into the ocean off of Novaya Zemlya. Testing seems to have been relocated recently to where the accident happened. One of the tests could have been the source of the iodine-131 spike from February 2017. This isotope was present in the exhaust plume of American nuclear thermal ramjets tested in the 60s.

Also of note is the presence of a ship normally used to transport reactor fuel rods, the Serebryanka. This ship was spotted near Novaya Zemlya last year following a round of testing of this missile, possibly to collect and transport the reactor cores of the missiles both before and after flight.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...crash-and-burn (From March 2018)

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...w-up-last-week (Posted today)

Honestly, I don't expect this thing to enter active service. It's a bargaining chip for arms control treaty negotiations, should the the US and Russia ever opt to go back to the table.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:38 AM   #3
Kyle
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"Well that's not great but it's not horrifying."

(Reference to the HBO show)
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Post
 Honestly, I don't expect this thing to enter active service. It's a bargaining chip for arms control treaty negotiations, should the the US and Russia ever opt to go back to the table.
Well, that really depends on what sort of accident rate the Russians are willing to accept for active service and how long it takes before either government is willing to negotiate in good faith. It may be a while before Russia can get this flying at any accident rate, but it also will likely be decades before there's any kind of detente between the US and Russia (not, I think, before Putin is dead, and quite possibly not even then). I was going to go into the reasons why in this post, but that was heading into basement territory, so I've split it off here.

So even if this is a complete boondoggle that takes 20 years to enter service, it might actually still be in service before the US and Russia come back to the table.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:20 AM   #5
steph
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I don't get why they'd have people anywhere near it when testing. Even moving it from Novaya Zemlya doesn't make much sense. You wouldn't test a normal engine with people in proximity, let alone what's basically an unshielded nuclear reactor with the exhaust as cooling gas. They might have been trying to do a submarine launch, and the sub had to have people in it. I'm only saying this because they already had a nuclear mishap with a 'research' sub back in July, otherwise it's pure speculation.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:27 PM   #6
N_Molson
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Quote:
"Well that's not great but it's not horrifying."
*engineer with burned face* : "The core... its... open !!!"
Dyatlov : "He's delusional. Get him out of the room."


Seriously, Russia is a lot in ambitious nuclear projects with minimal funding those last years. There's that floating nuclear power plant too (what can possibly go wrong ? ). I hope it won't go any worse than that. But I don't feel very confident about that statement...
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 *engineer with burned face* : "The core... its... open !!!"
Dyatlov : "He's delusional. Get him out of the room."


Seriously, Russia is a lot in ambitious nuclear projects with minimal funding those last years. There's that floating nuclear power plant too (what can possibly go wrong ? ). I hope it won't go any worse than that. But I don't feel very confident about that statement...

Since the cloud of Ruthenium over Europe last year was also traced to the largest Russian nuclear factory... yeah. There is a very Russian word for the current state of the Russian economy: Potemkin villages. It is presented as shiny, modern, great to the public (and possibly to Putin)... but actually, most of it isn't that great. Some factories are still running on machines taken from Nazi Germany after the war (Those belong into a museum!)
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Russia says rocket explosion caused 16-fold radiation spike
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49339895
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:55 PM   #9
steph
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There's a video doing the rounds on the internet claiming to be from the accident, when in fact it's from the ammo depot fire on 5 august. Then again, with that shockwave, it does look like a small nuke. I bet there are conspiracists claiming that the accident thing was just to cover up a nuke in Siberia :p

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Old 08-14-2019, 08:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steph View Post
 There's a video doing the rounds on the internet claiming to be from the accident, when in fact it's from the ammo depot fire on 5 august. Then again, with that shockwave, it does look like a small nuke. I bet there are conspiracists claiming that the accident thing was just to cover up a nuke in Siberia :p

Russian Ammunition Depot Explosion in Achinsk - YouTube

Too reddish flash for a nuclear bomb. But considering that it is one single short explosion, it must have been a very robust bunker with lots of artillery ammo.



Or something else.
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