A Soviet nuclear submarine Komsomolets, which currently lies on the bottom of the Norwegian Sea, is still emitting radiation, according to researchers using a remotely operated vehicle, although the vessel sank thirty years ago.
Reuters reported that the Norwegian authorities have conducted yearly expeditions to monitor radiation levels at the site where the submarine lies, at a depth of about 1,700 metres, since the 1990s. However, it is the first time a remotely operated vehicle has been used.
Aegir 6000 was able to film the wreckage and take samples for later analysis.
The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said that the levels of radioactivity at the site were found to be up to 800,000 times higher than normal, according to the samples of the scientific mission.
"This is of course a higher level than we would usually measure out at sea but the levels we have found now are not alarming," said expedition leader Hilde Elise Heldal of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, noting that radioactivity levels "thin out" quickly at such depths.
Komsomolets sank after it caught fire, in April 1989, killing 42 crew.
The news comes only few days after the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced the death of 14 sailors who were on board a research submersible that Russia later said was nuclear-powered.
Regarding the recent incident, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a meeting with president Putin that the nuclear reactor on board the submarine had been totally sealed off.