The soviets built a chain of remote lighthouses along the arctic coast, each one powered by it’s own miniature nuclear generator. In total 1007 of these generators were put in place, several of which remain unaccounted for.

The nuclear lighthouses built by the Soviets in the Arctic

The Northern Sea Route goes for 5600km from the Kara Sea to the Bering Strait, connecting Western Russia to the Far Eastern territories. In the 1930s, the USSR started building hundreds of lighthouses along this Arctic route. With no keepers, and no other form of electricity available they would run on nuclear energy.

Video by Irina Sedunova, produced by Anna Pazos and Anna Bressanin

6 thoughts on “The soviets built a chain of remote lighthouses along the arctic coast, each one powered by it’s own miniature nuclear generator. In total 1007 of these generators were put in place, several of which remain unaccounted for.”

  1. Infernalism

    Headline is misleading.

    They didn’t use nuclear power as you might think, with fuel rods heating water and turning turbines.

    Instead, they used what’s called a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. These have no moving parts and work simply by creating electricity by means of thermocouples. These make electricity due to the transfer of heat from the nuclear fuel to heat sinks.

    In The Martian, Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney uses an RTG to generate heat in his rover.

    The devices aren’t inherently dangerous except if ruptured. They contain radioactive materials, but none of the fuels used can be used as a weapon, save for literally blowing them up in the form of a dirty bomb.

    Most fuels for RTGs last about 80-90 years before becoming completely inert.

  2. AlistairBennet

    Mark Watney knows all about RTGs…

  3. Pellaeonthewingedleo

    Oops …

    Wouldn’t be the only soviet nuclear devices unaccounted for

    For context: officially the US lost 6 Nuclear bombs for good. Nobody knows how many the soviets lost . Some scources assume up to 44, but nobody can be sure how many of the around 55000 warheads they build

  4. pavlik_enemy

    It’s not a “nuclear reactor” in a conventional sense, there’s no fission going on.

  5. PrestigiousDamage773

    Some evil genius must be powering his or her lair

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