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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Kursk success opens new risks
Cables
Twenty-six giant cables raised the submarine
By Russian affairs analyst Stephen Dalziel

So far, so good, but there is still a lot to do before the Kursk and its crew can be laid to rest.

Raising the wreck to the surface and bringing it to shore is in itself a triumph of engineering, but the vital work lies ahead.

For one thing, the nose of the vessel, where its torpedoes are stored, remains at the bottom of the Barents Sea.

UK divers
The operation was fraught with problems but ultimately a triumph
It was thought to be too dangerous to lift with the rest of the submarine, so it was cut off. It is due to be recovered next summer.

More immediately, there is a difficult operation now to steer the wreck into the dry dock. That should be done by Saturday.

Then specialists can go on board and begin the task of removing the remains of the crew, as well as the two nuclear reactors which powered the Kursk, and its cruise missiles.

Nuclear warheads

Despite assurances from the head of the government commission in charge of the recovery operation, Ilya Klebanov, that there is no risk of radioactive contamination, residents of the port of Roslyakovo are nervous at the prospect of the wreck sitting in dry dock there for three months before the reactors are removed.

Barge
The submarine was towed to shore beneath a giant barge
And despite denials from the Russian naval command, it is thought highly possible that the cruise missiles are fitted with nuclear warheads.

The Kursk was due to go on patrol immediately after the exercise during which it sank, and therefore it would have made sense for it to be properly armed.

This would not be the first time that the navy has not told the full truth about the Kursk which is another reason why local residents are nervous about the risk of radioactive contamination.

The Kursk submarine accident

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07 Aug 01 | Science/Nature
11 Oct 01 | UK
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