BEAR ISLAND, NORWAY — Researchers from Norway and Russia have discovered radioactive leakage from a Soviet-era nuclear submarine wreck in the Norwegian Sea.
The Komsomolets sank in the ocean in 1989, taking the lives of 42 sailors after a fire broke out.
A joint expedition between the two countries was conducted this month via the remotely-operated vehicle Aegir 6000 to monitor and collect information about radioactive contamination at the wreckage site, BBC News reports.
Researchers took several water samples from in and around a ventilation duct of the submarine, with the highest recorded level of radioactive caesium being around 100 becquerel per liter or 800,000 times higher than normal.
In comparison, other areas in the Norwegian Sea have radiation levels around 0.001 becquerel per liter, according to a news release from the Institute of Marine Research.
Researchers have also taken samples of seawater and organisms that now live on the shipwreck for further analysis.
Researchers say the Soviet-era submarine wreck is 1,680 meters in the ocean.
The Komsomolets sank while carrying two nuclear torpedoes with plutonium warheads.
The team released a video of their expedition showing the remains of the submarine.