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Russia: CIA Says Tremor Not Nuclear Blast

  • Kevin Foley



Washington, 5 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says a tremor detected in August off Russia's Arctic coast was probably not caused by a Russian nuclear weapons test.

In a statement yesterday, the CIA said the conclusion was reached by a panel of private experts appointed by CIA Director George Tenet. The panel said an earthquake or conventional explosion might have been the cause of the August 16 tremor detected near Novaya Zemlya.

CIA analysts initially told senior government officials that the tremor was from a nuclear explosion. U.S. officials questioned Russian officials about whether Russia had secretly violated its pledge not to test nuclear weapons. Russia denied the accusation and demanded an apology from the U.S.

In the ensuing investigation, the panel of experts agreed with CIA analysts who said Russia was probably conducting weapons-related tests on the island in August. However, the panel also concluded that what was called the seismic event in the Kara Sea "was almost certainly not associated with the activities at Novaya Zemlya and was not nuclear."
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