Besides the 21.5 billion tons of fossil fuel reserves estimated to lie beneath the ocean floor, the Kara Sea also contains a huge quantity of nuclear waste dumped decades ago by the Soviet military. ... n 1981, the ill-fated Soviet K-27submarine was sunk in the Kara Sea following a nuclear leak from its experimental liquid-coolant nuclear engine. While officials say there is no radiation leak from the vessel so far, highly-enriched uranium in its reactors remains a potential time bomb for a nuclear accident. This year Russian officials are looking at whether the vessel can be lifted from the sea floor so that its uranium can be safely removed.
Russia will be visiting other nuclear waste sites, too: In addition to the sunken sub, the Kara Sea contains 17,000 containers and 19 vessels with radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, and low-level liquid waste which was poured directly into the sea by the Soviet military.10