Russia’s top nuclear official promises ‘new models of weapons’ following explosions and radiation spike
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s top nuclear official promised on Monday to succeed in developing new weapons as he paid tribute to five scientists killed in what U.S. experts suspect was the botched test of a new missile vaunted by President Vladimir Putin.
The five scientists were buried in the closed city of Sarov on Monday. They died last Thursday in what state nuclear agency Rosatom has said was an accident during a rocket test on a sea platform off northern Russia.
The defense ministry initially said background radiation had remained normal, but a spike in radiation levels recorded in a nearby city prompted U.S.-based nuclear experts to suspect the failed test involved a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
The experts said they suspected the radiation release resulted from a mishap during the testing of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.
The Burevestnik was one of an array of new strategic weapons touted by Putin last year. Tensions between Moscow and Washington over arms control have been exacerbated by the demise this month of a landmark nuclear treaty.
The Kremlin has not commented on the accident.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday the United States was “learning much” from the explosion.
“The Russian ‘Skyfall’ explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!” Trump said, using the NATO alliance’s name for the Burevestnik.
At memorial events in Sarov that included a gun salute, Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev praised the deceased nuclear experts as the “pride of the country” and the “pride of the atomic sector”.
“The best tribute to them will be our continued work on new models of weapons, which will definitely be carried out to the end,” Likhachev was quoted as saying by RIA news agency
In a video interview published late on Sunday, an official at the scientists’ research institute …read more
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