Russia says their nuclear-powered missile is far ahead of the United States despite a deadly mishap during a failed test which killed seven people and sent radiation all over the region, according to Bloomberg.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin "has repeatedly said that Russian developments in this area surpass the level achieved by other countries, and are quite unique."
According to the report "U.S. officials have said repeatedly in the past year that its military is working on such programs," which was echoed in a Monday tweet by President Trump - who said "We have similar, though more advanced, technology," adding "The Russian "Skyfall" explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!"
"Skyfall" appears to confirm reports that the weapon being tested was the Burevestnik SSC-X-9 nuclear-powered cruise missile, which Putin introduced during a brief animated segment during his state-of-the-nation address last year.
The deadly mishap sent radiation spiking as high as 20 times normal levels after the incident, according to The Guardian, while Russia's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet) said that gamma radiation measured in six out of eight testing stations in the port city of Severodvinsk ranged from 4 to 16 times the normal rate of 0.11 microsieverts per hour. One measurement was as high as 1.78 microsieverts per hour.
While World Nuclear Association spokesman Jonathan Cobb says that the radiation spike would be akin to a dental x-ray, however the incident prompted a voluntary evacuation (downgraded from mandatory), and has residents and neighboring countries on edge.
News of the explosion set off in nearby cities and towns a run on iodine, a form of which is believed to help prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation. Norway said it had stepped up radiation monitoring after the incident but hadn’t detected anything abnormal. Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said it didn’t find an increase in radiation after the incident.
The military planned and then canceled activities that would have required the evacuation of residents of Nyonoksa, the town next to the offshore site where the explosion took place, the state-run Tass news service reported, citing a local official. Previously, a local news site reported that the town would be evacuated from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Wednesday. -Bloomberg
"The authorities still haven’t provided enough information about the full spectrum of radiation that may have been released," said Greenpeace Russia's Rashid Alimov. "They need to publish more comprehensive data on the event before we can know if the local population faces danger."