Russia has started building storages for more than 100 Bulava missiles some 120 kilometers from the border to Norway.
One Bulava missile can carry up to ten nuclear warheads with a yield of 150 kt each. If the warheads are stored together with the missiles, or in a separated storage nearby, it will be up to 1,000 nuclear bombs with a total yield of 150 Mt. In comparison, the Hiroshima bomb had a blast yield of 16 kt.
Missiles for Russia’s newest nuclear-powered submarines will be stored in the Northern Fleet’s main munitions depot in Okolnaya Bay outside the fleet’s main base of Severomorsk. Construction of the two first storages started in November this year, while two others will be built in October 2014. Russia spends 450 million rubles (€9.97 million) on construction of the depots, Izvestia reports.
The munitions depot will be located three hours sailing time away from Gadzhiyevo, the main base for Russia’s new Borey submarines, retired Vice-Admiral Vladimir Zakharov says. To store the missiles in the already existing facilities in Okolnaya is a lot cheaper than building new storages in Gadzhiyevo, and it is also more convenient. The base is hidden in a cliff and there is a railroad sidetrack leading to it, he says.
“And it’s better not to keep all eggs in one basket”, Zakharov adds.
According to Zakharov, when all the planned Borey submarines are taken into service, there will more than 200 missiles in the storage facilities. Russia plans to build a total of eight Borey submarines by 2020, but it is uncertain how many of these will be in the Northern Fleet and how many in the Pacific Fleet. The first vessel, the “Yury Dolgoruky” arrived at its home base in the Northern Fleet in September, while the next two are undergoing final testing.
In November, BarentsObserver reported that the two next Borey-class submarines in line, the “Aleksandr Nevsky” and “Vladimir Monomakh” will be based with the Pacific fleet.
Izvestia has tried to find out how safety will be ensured at the depot, but has not been able to come in contact with neither the Northern Fleet command nor the Russian Naval command.
The navy does the monitoring itself and civilian authorities have no possibilities to superintend the monitoring.
Authorities in Severomorsk say that they are denied the opportunity to control safety at the storage facility. Authorities for inspection of radiative dangerous objects in Murmansk oblast say that the Northern Fleet does not give them reports on control measurements of radiation levels: “The storages belong to the Ministry of Defense, they do not report to us about their monitoring. In theory they should report to us, but there are no documents stating this”, a representative from the Federal Environmental, Engineering and Nuclear Supervision Agency Rostekhnadzor says to Izvestia.