• Short Summary

    A Russian Cosmos satellite, powered by a nuclear reactor, broke up in the sky above the North West Territory of Canada on Tuesday (24 January) morning.

  • Description

    GV animated illustration of satellite's orbit around earth

    SVs Canadian radar controllers (3 shots)

    CU Canadian Minister of Defence Barney Danson speaking

    SV Photographs of satellite (2 shots)

    GV Airport control tower outside Edmonton

    GV PAN FROM Light aircraft TO Canadian Air Force plane

    GV & AVs Special American spy planes (5 shots)

    AV Landmass (2 shots)

    GV Snow covered land mass

    AV Ground around Yellowknife, including township

    GV & SV Canadian opposition leader Joe Clark speaking (5 shots)

    GV Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau speaking (2 shots)

    TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "Both NATO and NORAD have been watching this Cosmos closely since December, when monitor noticed its orbit was erratic. The U.S. expressed concern at the Soviet Union on January 12th, and were assured there was no danger of nuclear explosion. The Canadian government says it has been aware for at least a week that the satellite might crash in Canadian territory, but weren't sure until yesterday just where it might come down. Defence Minister Barney Danson said it was decide not to alert Yellowknife and surrounding territories because of the danger of panic."

    SEQ. 3: DANSON: "I don't think there is any cause for hysteria, that the people know what is going on. They're monitoring it to the very best of their ability with the best technology available, that the chances are just 98 per cent or more that it was dissipated in the atmosphere."

    REPORTER: "The satellite was powered by a nuclear reactor, and there was no indication that the entire unit had burned up during re-entry. Now Canadian forces officials at (indistinct) just outside Edmonton are setting up a command post for the search. The base nuclear response team is on standby, and five special aircraft are being flown up from the United States. A statesman for the Prime Minister's office says the activity is purely precautionary, since there is no indication so far of radiation problems in the area. Military officials in the United States had apparently been aware for some time that the satellite was losing height and would eventually come down, but there was no indication of where it might land."

    REPORTER: "If there is debris on the ground, however, there will be some contamination. How much is not certain, but the government insists it would be on a limited scale, and is not expected to affect communities around Yellowknife."

    REPORTER: "Opposition leader Joe Clark says it is embarrassing to have the Canadian Prime Minister told about events in Canada by the President of the United States. Clark says it is painfully obvious the Canadian government has been playing second fiddle to a foreign power on an issue which is of crucial importance to Canada."

    SEQ. 11: CLARK: "Could the Prime Minister tell us precisely what arrangements, preparation by Canadian officials, were taken? Could he tell us what Canadian experts are now on site in the North West Territory looking at this matter, or are all of the investigations being left to America?"

    SEQ. 12: TRUDEAU: "The real reason why the President was phoning me, Mr. Speaker, was to offer to the Canadian forces, should they need it, airborne detecting devices for any possible radioactivity. And that was a fair offer."

    Reuters newsagency reported on Wednesday (25 January) that United States and Canadian search teams had found no trace of radioactive fallout. They added that the chances of radioactive debris reaching ground were remote.

    Initials BB/2215


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A Russian Cosmos satellite, powered by a nuclear reactor, broke up in the sky above the North West Territory of Canada on Tuesday (24 January) morning. The satellite, about the size of a big television set, carried some 45 kilos (100 pounds) of radioactive uranium, but officials said the danger of contamination was slight. Remains of the satellite are believed to have come down about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Yellowknife, the capital of the North West Territory. American and European satellite tracking stations followed the flight of cosmos when they knew its orbit was breaking up. Reporters from the National Broadcasting Company Incorporated of the Unite States and the Canadian Broadcasting Company send these repots.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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