U.S. intelligence agencies monitored two Russian tests of an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile in recent months and found both tests failed to demonstrate the novel use of a reactor to fuel long-range flight, according to Pentagon officials.
The two flight tests were conducted in the Russian arctic, including one in November on the island of Novaya Zemlya, the location of a Russian air base and nuclear testing site.
During both tests, the nuclear power source failed to ignite. “Both times it didn’t light,” one defense official said.
This official said the tests raised concerns Moscow created nuclear fallout from the missile impact, either in waters around Novaya Zemlya or on arctic land in northern Russia.
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