The Sunken Soviet Submarine That’s Leaking Vast Quantities Of Deadly Waste

It’s April 1989, and the state-of-the-art Soviet nuclear sub Komsomolets has been carrying out her duties underwater for more than a month. Currently, in fact, she’s cruising at a depth of 1,250 feet in the Barents Sea, some 200 miles north of Norway. But all is far from well. And the events that unfold on that spring day will leave a terrifying legacy of highly toxic radioactive material on the seabed.

The Komsomolets – which translates as “member of the Young Communist League” – was built in a shipyard in Severodvinsk and made her maiden voyage in 1983. Severodvinsk itself, meanwhile, is located on the White Sea, which in turn borders the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea. And because of its naval ship-building industry, to this day the city in northwestern Russia remains largely closed to foreigners.

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