. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Report: Plutonium Spill

SAN FRANCISCO () -- Nuclear warheads on a Soviet submarine that sank in 1986 broke open, spilling unknown amounts of radioactive plutonium into the Atlantic Ocean, the San Francisco Examiner reported on Sunday.

Despite Soviet and U.S. assurances at the time that there was no radioactive contamination, the Examiner said it had learned this was the first case in which weapons-grade plutonium leaked from a submarine into the ocean.

The Soviet submarine, called K-219, sank in the Atlantic Ocean 960 kilometers east of Bermuda in October 1986, dragging down 32 nuclear warheads.

As the sub sank, the nuclear warheads broke open, spilling unknown amounts of the element into the sea, the Examiner said.