Connect with us




The future of Russia’s fleet and where nuclear submarines go to die

A look at the dangerous arctic graveyard where Russia dismantles nuclear reactors




Russia is known for her nuclear submarines. Russia operates the largest submarines ever built, the Typhoon (Akula) class, which dwarf the competition.

Image result for typhoon class submarine

Sadly, for those who like massive things, as humans have always had an interest in the extravagant, the Typhoon class is scheduled to be replaced by the Borei-class.

Image result for Borei-class submarine

For now, the aging typhoons will still operate, however, the smaller, modern Borei class will eventually retire them.

Perhaps even more impressive is the Yasen Class, touted as Russia’s “most advanced multipurpose watercraft”, according to Sputnik.

Related image

The Yasen Class impressed US Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command’s  executive officer so much, he had a model built of it in front of his office. Listen to how he described the lead ship of the class, the Severodvinsk:

We’ll be facing tough potential opponents. One only has to look at the Severodvinsk, Russia’s version of a [nuclear-guided missile submarine] (SSGN). I am so impressed with this ship that I had Carderock build a model from unclassified data. Source: USNI news

With that in mind, Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet seems to have a bright future. That being said, that also means the older submarines will need to be decommissioned very carefully. Their nuclear reactors are not exactly something you send to the junkyard, it will be decades before they are even safe to fully dismantle. Ever wonder where they go? Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH) published an excellent article on where nuclear submarines go to die:

Where do nuclear submarines leave their “hearts”?

For years, a storage site for Russian nuclear submarine reactor sections beyond the Polar Circle had been known as one of the world’s most dangerous places and terrified the whole of Europe. However, timely German assistance helped to significantly minimize the potential risks.

Heritage of the Cold War era

After the Soviet fall, Russia inherited a great number of nuclear weapons, such as strategic bombers, ICBMs and nuclear-powered submarines. To reduce the high nuclear threat to the world, Russia and the U.S. launched several initiatives to cut their nuclear arsenals.

Under one such initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, widely known as the Nunn–Lugar Act, the U.S. provided Russia with money, specialists and equipment to ensure effective nuclear demilitarization.

Still, dismantling a nuclear-powered submarine is no easy task. Besides the radioactive fuel and waste, the heart of the nuclear-powered submarine – its nuclear reactor – must be carefully removed.

Heart of the submarine

Due to its radioactive danger, the reactor can’t just be dumped. It is usually removed together with the section in which it is located in the submarine. This section serves as a container to prevent radioactive activity on the part of the reactor.

After the reactor section has been cut out, it is transported to a special storage where it is kept for at least 70 years. Only after this period is the radioactive level sufficiently low to allow the dismantling process to continue.

The first Russian storage for nuclear reactor sections was sited beyond the Polar Circle, in a bay near the village of Sayda Guba in the Murmansk Region. In 1990, the settlement was transferred to the Northern Fleet, which then used it to store reactor sections from its “retired” nuclear-powered submarines. Sections were cut out at special facilities and then towed to Sayda Guba bay for storage.

One of the most dangerous places on Earth

The problem was that there was no specially designed place where these dangerous reactor sections could be kept. They just accumulated in the bay and floated around the docks.

According to the initial plan, the storage was due to be constructed within a decade. Yet come 2003, no storage had been built, and there was not even a construction plan. Meanwhile, the number of reactor sections in the bay surpassed 50.

European countries raised concerns that the poor and improper conditions of the reactor sections storage at Sayda Guba could not only harm the Arctic environment, but also lead to a real nuclear disaster in Northern Europe.

From words to action

In the early 2000s, Europeans and Russians activated cooperation in reducing the potential threat of Sayda Guba. In 2003, the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy and the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Labor signed an agreement on the construction of a coastal storage for reactor sections of nuclear submarines.

Germany invested over $700 million in the project during 15 years. The country also provided Russia with technologies and specialists.

As a result, by 2017 the land-based storage for 155 reactor sections was built. A new clearing and painting workshop was set up to renew the anticorrosive surface of the reactor sections. Such important procedure has to be done once every decade over a period of 70 years.

Not only that, Sayda Guba got a railway system, new docks and all necessary infrastructures for workers at the complex. The ecological situation in the region has significantly improved.

Governor of the Murmansk Region Marina Kovtun called the Russian-German Sayda Guba project a unique example of international cooperation in nuclear decommissioning, not just for the Murmansk Region, but for the whole Russia as well. “Without Germany’s assistance such large-scale works at Sayda Guba would have taken much longer,” she said. (link in Russian)

Do you know there is a place in Russia even more dangerous than Chernobyl? Find out where it is.


Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Notify of


Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch



The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.





Via RT…

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.



Via Zerohedge

In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...


Quick Donate

The Duran
Donate a quick 10 spot!


The Duran Newsletter