Russia has never been as rich as America, so they make up for it in competition with us by having crazier technology, like, apparently, nuclear-powered (not just nuclear-armed, but nuclear-powered) cruise missiles. That sounds like something Richard Feynman and Klaus Fuchs would have brainstormed over lunch at Los Alamos in 1945.
By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer
Aug. 12, 2019
American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.
American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. …
Late Sunday night, officials at a research institute that had employed five of the scientists who died confirmed for the first time that a small nuclear reactor had exploded during an experiment in the White Sea, and that the authorities were investigating the cause. …
But United States intelligence officials have said they suspect the blast involved a prototype of what NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall. That is a cruise missile that Mr. Putin has boasted can reach any corner of the earth because it is partially powered by a small nuclear reactor, eliminating the usual distance limitations of conventionally fueled missiles.