zaterdag, juli 08, 2006

nog zo één, een schip met een vloek .....

uit : Piet Sinke's Nieuwsbrief

Navy Veterans Remember K-19 Submarine Accident .

Dozens of gray-haired Soviet navy veterans on Tuesday commemorated the 45th anniversary of an accident aboard the K-19 nuclear submarine, remembering the crew's heroic efforts to prevent a major ecological disaster and possibly global war.

The K-19, the first Soviet submarine to carry ballistic missiles, was on its first training voyage in the neutral waters of the North Atlantic in July 1961 when its reactor cooling system sprang a leak, sending the core temperature skyrocketing and threatening a meltdown.

K-19 was a Hotel class submarine which suffered various severe accidents. It was the first Soviet nuclear submarine equipped with ballistic nuclear missiles.

Construction of K-19 began 17 October 1958. The boat was christened 8 April 1959. Traditionally Russian vessels are christened by women, but K-19 was christened by a man.The bottle of champagne bounced off the boat without breaking, which the crew took as a bad omen. The boat was completed 12 November 1960 and commissioned 30 April 1961.
Nuclear accident : On 4 July 1961, under the command of Captain First Rank Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev, K-19 was conducting exercises in the North Atlantic close to Southern Greenland when she developed a major leak in her reactor coolant system, causing the water pressure in the starboard reactor dropping to zero and stopping of the coolant pumps.
A separate accident had disabled her long-range radio system, so she could not contact Moscow. The reactor temperature rose uncontrollably, reaching 800 °C, almost the melting point of the fuel rods; despite Zateyev's and others' earlier request, there was no backup cooling system installed. In spite of the fact that a nuclear reactor accident cannot produce a nuclear explosion under any circumstances, the Captain apparatently believed that an explosion in the nuclear reactor was possible,and might be interpreted by the United States as a preemptive strike and trigger a nuclear war, although he was most certainly more concerned about saving the ship and the crew. A team of eight engineering officers and crew worked for extended periods in high-radiation areas to jury-rig a new coolant system by cutting off an air vent valve and welding a water-supplying pipe on it. The released radioactive steam with fission products was sucked into the ventilation system and spread to other sections of the ship; the cooling water pumped from the reactor section played its role as well. The incident contaminated the crew, parts of the ship, and some of the ballistic missiles carried onboard. The entire crew received substantial doses of radiation, and all eight men in the repair crew died of radiation exposure within a week. The captain decided to head south to meet the diesel submarines supposed to be there, instead of continuing on the planned route. Worry of a crew mutiny prompted Zateyev to have all small arms thrown overboard except for five pistols distributed to his most trusted officers. A diesel submarine S-270 picked up K-19's low-power distress transmissions and rendezvoused with her. Her crew was evacuated, and she was towed to the home base; after landing, it contaminated a zone within 700 meters. The damaged reactors were removed and replaced, a process that took two years. In the repair process, it was discovered that the catastrophe had been caused by a drop from a welding electrode that had fallen into the first cooling circuit of the starboard reactor during her initial construction. K-19 returned to the fleet, having acquired the nickname "Hiroshima". On 1 February 2006 former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev proposed in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee that the crew of K-19 should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for their actions on 4 July 1961. In late March 2006, Nikolai Zateyev was formally nominated for the award. On 15 November 1969 K-19 collided with USS Gato in the Barents Sea at a depth of 60 m (200 ft). She was able to surface by means of an emergency ballast tank blow. The impact completely destroyed the bow sonar systems and mangled the covers of the forward torpedo tubes. K-19 was repaired and returned to the fleet. Fire : On 24 February 1972 a fire broke out onboard K-19 while the submarine was at a depth of 120 m (380 ft) some 1300 km (800 miles) from Newfoundland. A total of 28 sailors died in the fire, caused by hydraulic fluid leaking onto a hot filter. The boat surfaced, and surface warships evacuated the crew except for 12 men trapped in the aft torpedo room. Towing was delayed by a gale, and the aft torpedo room could not be reached because of conditions in the engine room. After the gale abated, the boat was towed to Severomorsk on 4 April, and the men were rescued after surviving 24 days in the lightless, heatless torpedo room. The rescue operation lasted more than 40 days and involved over 30 ships. K-19 was again repaired and returned to the fleet. Decommissioning : The submarine was decommissioned in 1991 and in 1994 transferred to the naval repair yard at Polyarny. In March
2002 she was towed to the Nerpa Shipyard, Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk to be scrapped. It was announced in October 2003 that scrapping would start soon.


wat een ellende ......................



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