NPR

Experts Aghast At Russian Claim Of Nuclear-Powered Missile With Unlimited Range

The U.S. tested similar concepts in the 1960s but abandoned them over concerns of radioactive contamination. Russia's claim seems so fantastic that some analysts didn't believe initial reports.
The U.S. designed and built a nuclear-powered missile engine during the height of the Cold War. It never flew. Source: DOE

In his annual state of the nation address on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile that he claimed could fly indefinitely and deliver a warhead to any point on the earth's surface.

The weapon seems so fantastical that some analysts simply didn't believe the initial reports of the missile that appeared on social media early Thursday.

"I had my doubts," says Pavel Podvig, who runs the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces blog.

Podvig thought that perhaps something, he realized Putin had really made the claim: "Apparently, that's what he said."

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