Local TV: Nuclear sub fire ‘very difficult to fight’ — Special operation team arriving on scene — Heat ‘creating significant amount of steam’ — Burning for over 7 hours (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Published: May 24th, 2012 at 1:16 am ET


See first report here: [intlink id=”just-in-4-alarm-blaze-on-nuclear-sub-in-maine-it-doesn%e2%80%99t-smell-like-a-regular-fire-black-smoke-continues-billowing-photos” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Update: [intlink id=”4-alarm-fire-less-than-300-feet-away-from-nuclear-reactor-steam-continues-to-be-emitted-from-burning-vessel-new-aerial-footage-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Update: Fire extinguished, [intlink id=”commander-reveals-nuclear-fuel-board-burning-local-news-could” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Fire on nuke-powered sub at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard hurts 6
12:59 AM EDT May 24, 2012



Fire crews responded Wednesday to the USS Miami SSN 755 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard around 5:41 p.m.


Around 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Fuller said the fire was not out, but conditions were improving. He said heat from the fire was still creating a significant amount of steam.


Watch the video here

Published: May 24th, 2012 at 1:16 am ET


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31 comments to Local TV: Nuclear sub fire ‘very difficult to fight’ — Special operation team arriving on scene — Heat ‘creating significant amount of steam’ — Burning for over 7 hours (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

  • That's one big fire for a Metal submarine. Burning for 6 hours now and still going at this time. More fire trucks still arriving. Maybe, its a good thing it wasn't out to sea.

    In the video news report they state a minimum of 6 times that there is 'no danger' to the public.

    In my opinion the fire chiefs body language and eyes state that he was not telling the truth. It's an Attack Sub yet it has 'no weapons aboard. (?) …again "no danger".

    So, what's the worst case scenario for that local area if it sinks?
    Is there an evacuation plan, just in case?

    • Fall out man!

      Modern subs have a rubber coating to make them quieter and so more difficult to detect. Enenews reported previously on a Russian sub that caught fire and part of the fire was in that coating. Hopefully the rubber coating around the hull is what's burning (hopefully its not burning inside… hopefully) If the reactor is affected then anything could happen. Any fire crews should have their own geiger counters on a job like that. Past experience shows if there are radiation releases nothing will be revealed until it cannot be hidden any longer. People need to take reasonable precautions for themselves.

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Re radiation releases – the radiation network has only one station reporting from Mass. so one shouldn't read too much into this, but for what it's worth, that station had no unusual readings from when this began until now. (I just looked at the minute-by-minute report).

        Some day, there will be thousands of citizen-run stations in an area like this, and people will be able to know release amounts first-hand. Meanwhile, the little bit of data we have is not bad news, so I suppose that is good news.


    • richard richard

      they're faxing tepco for the evac prodcedures. still looking in the rolodex for the right number.

    • Fred

      The Weapoons Station would have offloaded all weapons before it was sent to the shipyard…standard operating procedure for just such a disaster. That's probably the truth in this case or we'd have known it by now. SSN is a fast attack, not a boomer. SSBN would have had 24 missile tubes. This is not on an SSN. It's designed to attack other subs and shipping…fast.

      The shipyards load and unload the reactor by cutting a big hole in the top of the pressure hull and removing the entire reactor with a huge crane used for no other purpose. The reactor fits on a special railroad car to ship to the refueling facilities. The reloaded reactor is loaded into the boat through the same hole and the hull is rewelded together by some very skilled welders to restore the pressure hull to specifications. Our shipyard, Charleston Naval Shipyard, where I worked for a decade, did a lot of them. Some idiot politicians closed it and all its amazing array of shipbuilding expertise was lost….

      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Fred–Thanks. It is good to hear from those who have been in the field and have work day knowledge.

      • What-About-The-Kids

        Thanks, Fred! This is interesting to hear. I agree with darmasyd. I too appreciate hearing from someone with first-hand experience.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Yet another creepy nuclear disaster spewing radiation. We need to outlaw this dangerous stuff thats giving everyone cancer.

  • Any clue as to the fuel payload. Via quantity and base (uranium vs plutonium). I believe these are plutonium powered…

    Also is there an excess fuel storage onboard; As well as a notion as too when the last refueling (if any) occurred…

    • ion jean ion jean

      You're spot on, TC! All subcompact nuke reactors for space and sea travel ARE plutonium powered, I believe…

      The Nuclear Sub…the Jewel of the Atomic Military, the reason why they throw safety aside to protect it…

      The Nuke Party wants these applications of energy even MORE than NPPs…

      This may be our tallest mountain to climb to end all use of nuclear fuel on the planet…

      Even though this sub is too close to me for comfort, if it melts down it will surely help our noble cause!

    • Fred

      As the blogosphere goes off faster than a nuke torpedo, your perception of the reactor on a boat is all wrong. The reactor is sealed up in a huge containment to protect the crew, which is worth more than the boat. Noone can "open" the reactor sealed up in the boat as there is no access and no room like on the movies. No extra fuel is anywhere aboard. The whole reactor is swapped out for refueling with another refueled reactor, not like our idiots in the power plants. It's a very compact system that works amazingly well. It's powered by uranium, the old fashioned way, not plutonium. The Pu, of course, is in the missiles on SSBN, right over your bunk if you're an elisted sailor, but not on this SSN fast attack. It's made to attack ships and other subs.

  • goathead goathead

    If Nuke energy is the equivalent of pissing in our pond, then Nuke subs are the TURDS floating around in it!!!!! It's time indeed we pulled the chain and flushed these MOFO'S!!!!

    • Spectrometising

      Nice formulation goathead Might paint it on a T-Shirt. 🙂

    • arclight arclight

      thank you for that clarification goathead.. most apt terminology.. it helps me to understand the depth of your statement in a clear and concise, non confusing way..

      thank you!

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    One reporter said the fire spread to crew, command and missile or torpedo sections. The other did not mention it.

    It sounds like the whole sub was on fire, not just the 'forward' section.

    Don't these subs have nuke missiles and torpedoes on board? What happens when the nuclear reactor control mechanisms are burned up?

    Even if there was a radiation release, there is no way they are going to talk about it. It will be interesting to see if more emergency responders and/or crew end up going to the hospital…

    Here is hoping that they know enough to get tested for alpha radiation exposure.

    Alpha Radiation Dangers; Polonium, Radon, Radium, Plutonium, Uranium….

    • Fred

      Weapons are all offloaded before the boat goes into the yard for overhaul. Shipyard unions won't touch it loaded. Unlike your favorite NPP built like a Walmart, the reactor is a LOT of really heavy steel away from all the crew-inhabited compartments and no fire aboard the crew compartment could even raise the temp inside the containment beast 1C. I'm not defending any of this, but I sat for hours inside the hulls in the shipyards for years. I know guys over 90 who did, too. We die of asbestosis from the pipe lagging, not radiation. The whole thing is welded shut, not screwed together like Fukushima. The steel shell is massive. Hollywood's movies are stupid.

  • hbjon hbjon

    Was it him by an Iranian torpedo? North Korea secret weapon? Earthquake? Cmon folks, let's hear some truths.

    • arclight arclight

      it was probably some domestic extremist vegatarian hippy types…

      my guess!! i hope your security services are checking "that type" out..
      they are generally quite smelly too! imo/sarc

  • arclight arclight

    thought this might be of interest

    its not the first

    United States

    Thresher (SSN-593), the first submarine in its class, sank April 10, 1963 during deep-diving trials after flooding, loss of propulsion, and an attempt to blow the emergency ballast tanks failed, causing it to exceed crush depth. All 129 men on board died. Location: 50 km (27 nmi) east of Cape Cod.

    Scorpion (SSN-589), a Skipjack-class submarine, sank May 22, 1968, evidently due to implosion upon reaching its crush depth. What caused the Scorpion to descend to its crush depth is not known. All 99 men died. Location: 740 kilometres (400 nmi) southwest of the Azores.


    and this from greenpeace

    "…As a result of accidents, some 51 nuclear warheads were lost into sea (44 Soviet and 7 U.S. However, at least one Soviet warhead was recovered). Also, seven nuclear reactors (5 Soviet and 2 U.S.) from three Soviet and two U.S. nuclear-powered submarines have been lost at sea due to accidents. Another 19 nuclear reactors from nuclear-powered vessels have been deliberately dumped at sea (18 Soviet and 1 U.S.).

    The U.S. Navy is known to have experienced at least 380 nuclear weapons incidents, but the details are not known. It assumed that other countries with nuclear weapons have had similar nuclear weapons accidents or incidents, but official secrecy means that no information is available…"


  • Fire alone won't cause any explosions of [the nuclear components of] torpedos or missiles. Nor will fire seriously endanger the reactor interior. There shouldn't be any nuclear materials just hanging around the rest of the boat that could be released by the fire either. They'll have a big salvage job when it's over, though.

    Black smoke like from the Russian sub fire will contain all sorts of nasty chemical toxins from whatever flammables are burning, all proper precautions should be taken. The "no danger to the general public" canard is absurd – any time you've got thick black smoke from a fire there's a clear and present danger to the public exposed.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    The text from the TV station above says "Black smoke billowed overhead" but the film clip shows only steam. I assume the media arrived on the scene relatively late. I wonder if citizens' vids will start to appear on the Net showing the black smoke.

    I note also that most of the comments on the TV channel's page are distractions and/or downplay the event and the risk of nuclear in general. The flavor of the comments is very different from the kind of interactions that occur here, except when we have the occasional blatant trolling visitor.

    So far – the American sub fire images seem much more "covered up" than the images from the recent Russian sub fire, "steam in the distance" is about all I've seen. Ironic, but not a surprise.

    Oh, the TV clip mentions that the sub was launched in 1988, for whatever that is worth.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    “The crew of 13 officers and 120 enlisted personnel brought USS Miami (SSN 755) to the shipyard on March 1 to undergo maintenance work and system upgrades….”
    The USS Miami is the 26th Los-Angeles class submarine delivered by Electric Boat and the 44th ship of that class to be commissioned. The 6,900-ton, 260-foot-long Miami carries an armament of Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles and cost about $600 million to build….”


  • sonnen.blum.239 sonnen.blum.239

    Houston this is Darryl and his borhter Darryl and his other brother Darryl who apparently just simply cannot read:
    1. likely no reactor on board — does anyone know this?
    2. a small uranium based sealed unit most likely off loaded before repairs and sent to the NPS shop for swapping out, therefore most likely not there to be in the fire
    3. likely no nuclear or other weapons on board, as this is a repair and retrofit yard, and not the place where weapons would be found, loaded or unloaded
    4. yeppers, Darryl, them there's black smoke is likely very poisonous.
    5. cleaning fluid for torpedoes (non nuclear) is contaminated enough to cause the shut down of the Whidbey Island Naval Base a half century after its use…and all the thyroid cancer vets and family have NO records of any health history according to the USN. None, not now, not then. Disappeared.
    5. everything that was on the internet about Whidbey Island has disappeared, conveniently, just like the medical records of thousands of exposed military families.
    6. Just saying.