Nuclear Powered Submarines in the Post-ColdWar Era

Essay by ScremokidHigh School, 12th grade March 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.1 1 reviews

Downloaded 32 times

There is only so much to say about the role of nuclear-powered submarines

in the post-Cold War era. During the Cold War they seemed to be all the rage among American and Soviet Union governments. The two countries were both continually making more nuclear weapons and were afraid of attack from the other country. The competition between the United States and the Soviet Union caused great threat to both sides and in turn this lead them to potentially be on the verge of nuclear war.

The first Soviet nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarine was

launched over 40 years ago during the Cold War, and it was this very submarine that quite possibly saved our world from going through a nuclear catastrophe. This submarine was called K-19. The construction of K-19 began on October 17, 1958. It was on April 8, 1959 it was christened, and the accident that ended up potentially saving the world from nuclear disaster occurred on July 4, 1961.

K-19 was doing some exercises in the North Atlantic, close to Southern Greenland,

when a leak struck in the reactor coolant system. There was a fair chance that this leak could lead them to unintentionally firing missiles at an American ship and therefore possibly causing the beginning of a nuclear war. Engineering officers and crewmembers ended up working for long periods of time in high-radiation areas trying their best to fix the problem. Because of their exposure to such a high level of radiation many of the crewmembers became terribly ill, including 8 men who died from the extreme conditions. Eventually the crew was evacuated to a diesel submarine, and K-19 was towed to a base in the Soviet Union.

It wasn't until 1991, nearly 50 years after the Cold War began, that it all

ended. During...