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This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet

Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet

Whereas most ruins of decades past are often strictly off-limits, Russia's Kildin island is a veritable petting zoo of the creepiest decaying military equipment you will ever get to see up close.

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Located in the Barents Sea just 75 miles from Norway, the island is home to a host of used-up reactors and other parts from Soviet nuclear submarines. High-level radioactive waste is relegated to the island's tunnels for long-term storage, so everything you're seeing in these pictures consists of the low to intermediate level waste left scattered above ground. And according to one Soviet coastguard who witnessed the dumping in April of 1991, the level of safety precautions was "scandalous."

Seeing the slow decay of these once-awesome feats of military prowess is oddly beautiful, if not totally creepy. Below are some of photographer Ralph Mirebs' photographs of the Soviet ghost island, and you can the rest of his work over at English Russia. [English Russia]

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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
Illustration for article titled This Island Holds the Decaying Remains of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet
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Images via Ralph Merebs

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DISCUSSION

Isn't the metal worth something? I don't know much about metal prices but I know that a lot of my buddies scrap metal for cash. It does seem kind of wasteful to just let all this stuff rot away on an island, no?