The Kursk is sure to be raised. But when exactly?

A scheme of raising Russia’s sunken Kursk nuclear submarine off the Barents Sea bed has been at last determined, and it looks like a lifting will be completed in the coming fall, a spokesman of the Rubin submarine designing office told journalists today. "The talk about reluctance to raise the sub is absolutely groundless. The problem is purely financial and results from certain delays in the Finance Ministry's efforts to agree on sources of financing. However, now the problem is being resolved," the spokesman is quoted by Interfax as saying. As for the lifting itself, it will proceed approximately as follows: Two large sea cranes will be taken to where the Kursk is lying, each having a capacity of 12,000-14,000 tons. Over 20 steel grips will be used to lift the sub from the seabed. Before that, technological holes will be made in the submarine body to fix the grips. Then the Kursk will be moved under a large barge, attached to its bottom and towed to a dock, the representative said. He said the lifting and towing alone may take a week or two, but preparatory steps, such as the boring of holes, the removal of sand from the submarine's body, the installation of cranes and other equipment will take at least two months. The Kursk sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000, at a depth of 108 meters, the cause of the crash being stlll unknown. All 118 crew members died. Experts estimate that the operation will cost about $70 million, and the entire operation may take as little as 1 – 2 weeks. May we remind our readers that doubts have repeatedly been raised of late over the Kursk’s lifting, and Pravda.Ru has regularly turned to this sticky subject. It has been mentioned that Russia categorically denied the allegations from Rio Praaning, secretary general of the Kursk international foundation – he accused the Russian side of insufficient funding of the project. It has also been noted that the West is putting pressure on Russia trying to force it to accept the nuclerar waste utilization programme, the waste being supposed to be dumped in Russia's north-west. In other words, «if the programme is endorced, the needed money will be available.»

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