Boris Yeltsin boards scandalized nuclear cruiser

Publish date: August 20, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

President Boris Yeltsin will leave the economic chaos in Moscow on Friday to participate in an extensive naval rehearsal in the Barents Sea. The president himself will attend the rehearsal from the nuclear operated scandal-cruiser Peter the Great.

Yeltsin will arrive in Severomorsk at 11:00 a.m. and will join Peter the Great out to the rehearsal ield in the Barents Sea. There 35 ships will demonstrate the Northern fleet’s striking power for the President. Amongst others, a submerged nuclear submarine will launch a ballistic missile.

Peter the Great is the Northern fleet’s newest nuclear operated battlecruiser, but ever since its launch in 1996,the ship has been haunted by accidents and problems. The gravest accident happened immediately after the launch from the shipyard in St Petersburg on the 27. of October 1996. An explosion in a turbine pipe outside the reactor section killed five crewmembers. In the accident’s aftermath, the security on board were fiercely criticised

The reactor technology is from the 1960´s and a number of defects has entailed that the cruiser has mainly been in dry-dock for repairs ever since its arrival to the Northern fleet the on 24 November 1996. Because of the lack of finances, it took ten years from the constructions of Peter the Great commenced until the navy launched it.

In an interview with the Moscow Times, the Northern fleet’s spokesman, Sergey Anufriyev, says that he hopes that president Yeltsin’s visit onboard Peter the Great will lead to the financing necessary to repair the battlecruiser, which has two nuclear reactors.

The Northern fleet has two other similar battle-cruises in addition to Peter the Great. These have been laid up for several years pending reparations and replacement of the nuclear fuel in the reactors