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Last Summer's 'Mysterious' Nuclear Explosion

by Michael Steinberg Friday, Nov. 01, 2019 at 10:21 PM

A 'mysterious' nuclear explosion in Russia last August still begs out attention.

Nuclear Shutdown News October 2019

Michael Steinberg Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Last Summer's "Mysterious" Nuclear Explosion

As this year winds down a nuclear weapons explosion last summer still begs for our attention. What does this incident, half way around the world in another country, have to do with the nuclear power plants in this country?

Let's remember though, the "Atoms For Peace" program wherein the federal government encouraged (and heavily subsidized) the development civilian nuclear reactors to produce electricity. The idea was to try to overshadow the images of the nuclear holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused by the US

So it is far from ironic that the nuclear explosion in question occurred on August 8, the 74th anniversary of Nagasaki's immolation.

On that day Fox News reported "A Russian nuclear explosion caused two workers to die from radiation sickness." The incident happened on the White Sea in northwest Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry said the blast occurred while two engineers who were testing a " nuclear isotope source for a rocket were thrown into the sea" and died.

But independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta said "Two patients injured in the blast died of radiation sickness before they could be transported to Moscow for treatment."

"Two of the patients did not make it to the airport and died," a medical worker at the local hospital reported.

Another report, from the Moscow Times, said health care workers at Arkcangel Hospital who treated the injured workers "were not informed of the potential radioactive risk from handling the patients."

A ospital workers told the Moscow Times "At 4:30 p.m. the day of the accident they received three patients who were naked in translucent plastic bags. No one-neither the hospital director or a Health Ministry official-notified staff that the patients were radioactive."

Novaga Gazeta also reported that an anonymous hospital worker said that "traces of Cesium 137 (which remains dangerously radioactive for 300 years) were detected in the emergency room area an hour after the patients were brought in." Doctors and nurses had only face masks for protection, and nothing but soap solutions to decontaminate to ER.

The nearby city of Serevdinsk's 183,000 residents were initially told to evacuate because of the radiation released by the explosion, but then the evac order was abruptly canceled.

Instead they were told to stay inside and close their windows.

Authorities later claimed the disaster wasn't as bad as the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine at Chernobyl in 1986, then ruled by the USSR.

More Fallout

Later in August it emerged that there may have been two nuclear explosions, and that actually seven people died in the blasts.

The debacle supposedly happened while testing a new type of long range Russian nuclear powered cruise missile. Or, as unnamed US intelligence sources claimed, as reported by CBNC on August 28, it may have occurred while trying to recover one such missile from the bottom of the White Sea.

Post Script Many people are not aware that US nuclear power reactors regularly release radiation into our air and water in order to operate. You may have heard about this at the Three Mile Island plant in 1979 in Pennsylvania (whose remaining reactor just shut down) or the Millstone nuke in my home state of Connecticut.

Although this happens all the time at the nation's 90-some nuclear plants, the public is usually not informed of these potentially carcinogenic releases. As with nuclear weapons operations, US nuclear power doings are largely carried on in secret.

After all, we wouldn't want the enemy to find out, would we? Except, all too often, the"enemy" is us!

Sources: Fox News,;Moscow Times,; CNBC,; Nuvaya Gazeta,

Michael Steinberg is a veteran activist and journalist, author of Millstone and Me: Sex. Lies and Radiation in Southeastern Connecticut.
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