Editorial: "Another Russian Nuclear Accident Seems To Be Characterized By Lies"

The changing story about an explosion in Russia that released radioactivity looks like "the same parade of misdirection happened during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986."

"Russia has suffered a string of military accidents this summer. In early July, a fire aboard a secret deep-water submersible killed 14 people. On Aug. 5, an ammunition depot in the Krasnoyarsk region exploded, creating a massive fireball. The most concerning, however, came Aug. 8 in an explosion during a missile engine test on a platform in the White Sea at the Nyonoksa test facility in the Arkhangelsk region, in Russia’s far northwest.

Initially, Russia’s defense ministry said two people died in the explosion, three were injured and there was no radiation release. Then officials in Severodvinsk, a larger city some 19 miles away, posted on its website a statement that sensors recorded a short-term spike in radiation, without saying how much. The report was subsequently taken down. Residents rushed to stockpile iodine against possible radiation exposure. Ambulances carrying the injured appeared to be sealed by some kind of plastic film, and personnel were wearing hazmat suits. On Aug. 10, the Russian state nuclear agency, Rosatom, said five of its employees had died in the accident, bringing the total to seven. Moreover, Rosatom said the blast resulted from the test of a jet engine “propulsion system involving isotopes,” or nuclear materials. On Aug. 13, residents of the small village of Nyonoksa were told they would be evacuated temporarily.

If this slow dribble of facts sounds familiar, it is — the same parade of misdirection happened during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. This accident is nothing like Chernobyl in scale, but the government response looks familiar, including a lack of transparency about radiation release. As the recent television series “Chernobyl” vividly illustrated, that accident, the worst in the nuclear age, was characterized by lies and deception. At the very least, Russia should immediately clear up what occurred at Nyonoksa."

The Washington Post Editorial Board writes August 13, 2019.


"Radiation Containment A New Concern In Russian Nuclear Incident" (Rachel Maddow)

"Russia Orders Evacuation of Village Near Site of Nuclear Explosion" (New York Times)

"Spies, Lies, and Radioactivity: Russia’s Nuke Missile Mishap, Decoded" (Daily Beast)

"'Accidents Happen,' Says Kremlin As It Breaks Silence On Suspected Nuclear Missile Explosion" (CNN)

Source: Washington Post, 08/14/2019