This recording is a documentary account of the survey conducted with the aid of the Mir submersibles of the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Komsomolets. This expedition had visited the Komsomolets to mesure amounts of radioactive leakage coming from the shipwreck. During the dives, Mir’s mechanical arms take parts and samples and leave samplers and other objects in and around the Komsomolets.
The K-278 Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear submarine, was launched May 9, 1983 and was lost April 7, 1989 in northern Europe in the Arctic Ocean. The submarine had an operating depth of 1000 meters and was designed with the ability to dive to 1500 meters. Aboard the vessel were torpedoes including two nuclear warheads. The submarine’s demise was caused by a fire; it sank to a depth of around 1500 meters. There were 25 survivors and 42 fatalities. The controversy surrounding the loss of this vessel has to do with radioactive contamination from the nuclear reactor and nuclear torpedoes. Leakage could potentially contaminate drinking water, affect fish population and the ecology. Several expeditions to the Komsomolets have been undertaken to probe the area. Although earlier tests showed no signs of dangerous leakage, later tests revealed this was not so. The Komsomolets has since been buried in mud to seal fractures and contain radioactive leakage.
MacInnis, Joseph B.