Atmospheric Burnup of the Cosmos-954 Reactor

Science  10 Aug 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4406, pp. 583-585
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4406.583


On 24 January 1978 the Russian satellite Cosmos-954 reentered the atmosphere over northern Canada. By use of high-altitude balloons, the atmosphere was sampled during 1978 up to an altitude of 39 kilometers to detect particulate debris from the reactor on board the satellite. Enriched uranium-bearing aerosols at concentrations and particle sizes compatible with partial burnup of the Cosmos-954 reactor were detected only in the high polar stratosphere.