Russian Nuke Sub Crew Prevented ‘Planetary Catastrophe’

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In summary: It's possible that the crew didn't have enough time to put out the fire, and it spread to the reactor. That would have been really bad!
  • #1
Anyone been following this story? Sensational or did we really narrowly miss a global nuclear disaster? What were the possible consequences of the fire spreading to the reactor?

The 14 sailors who died during a fire last week on a nuclear-powered Russian military submarine prevented a “planetary catastrophe,” a top naval officer said at their funeral, according to media reports.

Captain Sergei Pavlov, an aide to the commander of Russia’s navy, praised the heroism of the men, who died as they battled to stop the fire from spreading in the submersible.
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  • #2
I don't think so. As long as the vessel was dove, the impacts of a meltdown should be contained to a small region of the ocean. As it was a research vessel, it hardly had nuclear rockets on board, and even if, could a fire ignite more than the rocket fuel?

My suspicion is, as it was said at the funeral, that it was mainly meant to comfort the relatives, rather than an actual description of the threat.

Wiki says we have currently seven confirmed losses of atomic subs, 2 US and 5 Russian, and none of it posed an immediate threat, although their machines will sooner or later rust and release radioactivity.
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  • #3
The daily Kommersant, citing military circles, reported that the fire was apparently triggered by a short circuit in the control center, setting fire to cables or oil. Through the ventilation system, the smoke was then distributed to the other sections of the submarine. The crew did not have enough time to protect themselves. Only five surviving crew members had managed to extinguish the fire and bring the submarine back up.

The Kremlin had previously stated that it was a deep-sea submarine on a seafloor exploration mission. However, with senior army officers on board, it is believed that this was no ordinary mission.

  • #4
Can be a reference for the 'worst case'.
  • #6
Filip Larsen said:
In case anyone is interested, Ars Technica also ran an article on the accident:
Wow, that's an unusual submarine! I didn't know that deep-diving subs like that existed. 6000m depth is pretty incredible...


1. What exactly happened with the Russian nuke sub crew?

In 2019, a Russian nuclear submarine experienced a fire on board while at sea. The crew successfully prevented a nuclear reactor from exploding, which could have caused a catastrophic event.

2. How did the crew prevent the reactor from exploding?

The crew quickly and calmly followed emergency procedures, isolating the affected area and activating the fire extinguishing system. They also manually cooled the reactor, preventing it from overheating and potentially exploding.

3. What could have happened if the reactor had exploded?

If the reactor had exploded, it could have released radioactive material into the ocean, causing significant harm to marine life and potentially affecting nearby countries. It could also have posed a threat to the crew and the submarine itself.

4. Was this a common occurrence for Russian nuclear submarines?

No, this was a rare event. Nuclear submarine accidents are rare in general, and Russia has strict safety protocols in place for their nuclear submarines. This incident was the first of its kind for a Russian nuclear submarine in over a decade.

5. How did the world react to this incident?

The incident received international attention and raised concerns about the safety of nuclear-powered vessels. However, many also praised the crew for their quick thinking and actions, preventing a potentially catastrophic event.

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