Russia: Nuclear submarine paraded through the streets
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Vladimir Putin has paraded a 3,000-tonne nuclear submarine nicknamed The Whale through the streets of Russia. The gigantic craft, which measures 352ft – roughly the length of a football pitch – made its way through Kronstadt, close to St Petersburg, yesterday.
It will now be transformed into a museum as the culmination of an ongoing project at the nearby Nerpa shipyard, where its hull was repaired and the radioactive parts of the reactors were removed.
A remarkable video aired of state-run Russia 1 showing its journey through the city.
The K-3 Leninsky Komsomol, which was built in Molotovsk in 1957, was the USSR’s first nuclear submarine.
The following year, it was commissioned, sailing to Zapadnaya List on the Kola Peninsula in Russia’s remote northwest.
In June 1962, the sub initially know simply as the K-3 – broke through the ice in the North Pole, marking a massive milestone for the Soviet Union.
Only the world’s third nuclear submarine, the K-3 Leninsky Komsomol was powered by two water-cooled reactors and rapidly become a potent symbol of the USSR’s underwater military capabilities.
Skipper Lev Mikhailovich Zhiltsov, was eventually given the title Hero of the Soviet Union – the highest possible honour.
In recognition of the North Pole achievement, the sub was given the title Leninsky Komsomol.
In 1967, it was also tasked with following an American ballistic missile submarine.
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But within months disaster struck, with a fire breaking out in the vessel’s hydraulic system as it sailed through the Norwegian Sea.
As a result, carbon dioxide-type gas filled two compartments, killing 39 crew members.
An investigation eventually blamed a sailor smoking on board for starting the blaze and after extensive repairs, the sub put back to sea.
It was eventually decommissioned in 1988, having been in service for three decades, and moved to Nerpa shipyard in 2005.
The first visitors are scheduled to be able to set foot inside the vessel, at the Museum of Navy Glory, next year.
Originally the plan was to put the K3 alongside Lenin – the USSR’s first nuclear powered icebreaker – in Murmansk.
However, the plan shift to Kronstadt, a naval base located on Russia’s Kotlin Island.
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