No radioactivity discharge from Kursk so far

Publish date: August 23, 2000

Written by: Nils Bøhmer

Having studied the recent information from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) and measurements from Murmansk Meteorological Institute, we can conclude that there was so far no discharge of radioactivity from the Kursk submarine into the Barents Sea.

Water samples taken by the Norwegian divers from inside and close to the Kursk wreck were analyzed during the night by NRPA. Since the measurements show no sign of short-lived isotopes, which are usual for a recently shutdown reactor, we can conclude that so far the two reactors are not discharging any radioactivity. NRPA will also analyze samples taken from the sea bottom close to the Kursk.

According to Murmansk Meteorological Institute, some of their equipment has registered a level of radiation at 16 micro Roentgen/hour. The normal background radiation at the Kola Peninsula is typically between 10 to 20 micro Roentgen/hour. The level of the normal background varies because of different geology and atmospheric conditions. The radiation levels provided by Murmansk Meteorological Institute show no sign that there should be any additional radiation from the Kursk submarine.