Thursday, June 07, 2007

Russia builds monument to K-19 Soviet sub


The Age
June 07, 2007

The K-19 at sea

A Russian shipyard is rebuilding part of the Soviet Union's first nuclear submarine, the K-19, which almost exploded at the height of the Cold War, Interfax news agency reported today.

Nerpa shipyard in the northeastern Mourmansk region has begun restoring the 22 metre by six metre conning tower, the raised platform of the submarine, which will then be taken to Moscow as a monument to the famous vessel.

In an episode made famous by the Hollywood movie K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford, the crew faced potential disaster when on July 4, 1961, the submarine's cooling systems malfunctioned and the core of the nuclear reactor reached 800 degC.

They managed to stop an explosion which, at the height of the Cold War, could have been seen by the United States as a hostile act.

The story of the K-19 stayed secret for 30 years, with the survivors only appearing in public in 1991. Eight sailors died in the accident.



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