Nearly a month after a mysterious explosion apparently involving a radioactive-isotope-fueled rocket engine, authorities in the Arkhangelsk region have officially recognized the pontoons damaged in the blast as “potentially dangerous objects.” The local government says it’s formally informed Rosatom, the Defense Ministry, the National Weather Service, and the Consumer Protection and Welfare Federal Service. Officials stress that the danger posed by the radioactive pontoons is not life-threatening.
Late last month, journalists visited the pontoons, which have washed up on shore at the mouth of the Verkhovka River on a sandbar in the White Sea’s Dvina Bay. According to video footage, the pontoons are neither fenced off nor guarded. In the daytime on August 31, about 165 feet from the pontoons, the background radiation ranged from 70 to 154 microroentgen per hour. The journalists say the levels jumped to 750 microroentgen per hour, once the pontoons washed up on shore.