Russia has inadvertently released details of a giant nuclear torpedo codenamed “Status-6” in a news segment on Russia’s state media channel, Channel One.
The channel was covering Vladimir Putin’s meeting with military chiefs when one general was filmed studying a colour diagram on the new weapon.
The torpedo is designed to attack strategic coastal sites and according to the document would create “wide areas of radioactive contamination” prompting speculation that this could be a highly radioactive “Cobalt” bomb. The weapon has been built by Rubin, a submarine design bureau in St Petersburg.
Putin’s spokesman Dimitry Peskov stated that “It’s true some secret data got into the shot, therefore it was subsequently deleted, In future we will undoubtedly take preventive measures so this does not happen again.”
There has been speculation however that the leak was not entirely unplanned. Just before the diagram came into view Mr Putin was heard telling generals that the US and NATO were pushing ahead with their global anti-missile defence system “unfortunately ignoring our concerns and our offers of co-operation”.
Putin believes that the project is designed to “undermine the existing parity in strategic nuclear weapons and essentially to upset the whole system of global and regional stability”.
Further evidence that the leak was not as it seemed was that state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta also carried details of the weapon (without the diagram) which described its destructive power as that similar to what scientists would expect from a Cobalt bomb.
A cobalt bomb is a nuclear device which has a layer of Cobalt-59 on it. When detonated the fission effect converts Cobalt-59 into Cobalt-60 which is highly radioactive and has a half-life of around 5 years. No cobalt weapon has ever been tested due to the amount of radiation it would unleash.
According to the Rossiiskaya Gazeta the weapon would ensure “everything living would be killed” adding that there would not even be any survivors in bunkers.