Russia is currently expanding and modernizing its navy. This might have something to do with Moscow’s apparent appetite for military conquest. Still, Russia has a few nuclear submarines that are dangerously past their prime, considering the fissile materials that are still stored onboard.
In 2009, one rusted behemoth was transported to a factory in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, close to the Korean peninsula, for decommissioning.
With the vessel fully out of water, the pictures offer an amazing perspective on how massive and complex even an outdated class of nuclear submarine really is.
At 117 yards, the Victor-class submarine is longer than a football field. In its apparent state of decay, it’s no wonder the sub had to be hauled to its seaside destination.
Its destination was the Zvezda, or Star, factory east of Vladivostok, the eastern-most of Russia’s major cities.
The same photographer was on the scene to capture the sub’s final dismantling.
This cross-section gives an idea of how cramped life beneath the waves really is.
Spent fuel and nuclear waste make decommissioning nuclear subs a high-stakes and time-consuming project. Not to mention expensive: it’s going to cost an estimated $2.2 billion for Russia to fully decommission its obsolete nuclear vessels.
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