Potentially toxic Russian rocket left no debris in Canada’s waters, Ottawa says
“The government operations centre is keeping an eye out, but nothing has landed in our territory at this point”
The federal government says a Russian rocket launched over the Arctic last weekend has not sent any debris into Canadian waters.
The rocket, launched early June 4, was expected to fall into Baffin Bay, creating fears about the potential of its toxic fuel, hydrazine, to pollute Arctic waters.
“The government operations centre was monitoring the rocket launch this weekend,” said Mylène Croteau, a spokesperson for Public Safety Canada.
“The government operations centre is keeping an eye out, but nothing has landed in our territory at this point.”
The Russian government planned to launch the SS-19 rocket to carry a scientific satellite into orbit.
The first stage of the rocket was expected to fall into the Barents Sea north of Norway, while the second stage would fall between southern Ellesmere Island and Greenland.
“Inuit live here, Inuit use the animals in these waters to feed our families,” Okalik Eegeesiak, Inuit Circumpolar Council’s international chair said last week. “This is our home.”
The Nunavut minister of Community and Government Services, Joe Savikataaq, also expressed concerns about hazardous waste being dumped into the territory’s waters, noting the GN only learned about the launch days before it happened.
When asked about the issue at Nunavut’s legislature June 6, Savikataaq said though nothing fell in Nunavut waters or on land here, it would have been nice to have been informed earlier of Russia’s intentions.
Not that it would have made much of a difference, he said. The environmental risk would have been the same had they known weeks ago. Nunavut can’t tell Russia what to do.
“I think Nunavut should be well informed but we don’t have the facilities or the know-how to deal with this stuff — and it is dealing with another country so I guess the federal government is running the whole show,” he said. “But the people of Nunavut should know what’s happening in their own territory.”
For its part, the Russian government has said the old SS-19 rocket would have burned up all its fuel before it hit water.
The federal government said the California-based Joint Space Operations Center continues to monitor the issue.
With files from Sarah Rogers and Lisa Gregoire