Just 90 miles off the tip of Florida is a structure that was never quite completed. A structure that could have changed US history completely if it was finished. A building that represents a time when ideas were radical and dangerous. This building would have supplied 15% of Cuba’s energy needs and was funded by their communist partner, the Soviet Union. Construction on this abandoned nuclear reactor located in Cuba started during the Cold War and thankfully it was never completed because it could have been a complete disaster.
The Cuban/Soviet nuclear reactor started construction in 1983, just 90 miles off the tip of Florida. It was one of two that were planned to be built and would supply 15% of Cuba’s energy needs.
The Soviet Union was funneling huge amounts of cash to fund the project, however when the Soviet Union fell in 1991 funds ceased.
The reactor was 40% complete and full of huge expensive equipment, but it was just left abandoned.
Over 300 Soviet workers had to return to the motherland. The facility was just left behind and forgotten.
Castro ended his relationship with the Soviet Union 10 years after it began, and nothing more was to be done with the abandoned nuclear reactor. After some research, this was the best thing that could have happened because this place would have been a horrific disaster waiting to happen.
The fact that Cuba’s building codes are incredibly loose, making for a very unstable work environment and unsafe building practices are just the tip of the iceberg.
The possibility of an accident occurring at Juragua, upon its operation, according to experts, is 15 times greater than the probabilities in a United States plant. According to air weather patterns around Cienfuegos, it would take only 24 hours for radioactive materials to reach Florida.
Because of the location of the structure, this abandoned nuclear reactor was very susceptible to hurricanes and severe storms which would have undoubtedly created a catastrophe.
As of now, it is just an abandoned building of what could have been. If there was an accident all of the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean would be affected in terrible ways from the radiation.
Along with being susceptible to severe storms, this reactor would have produced a very large amount of nuclear waste. Keep in mind that Cuba is a small island. They have no place to dispose of the waste, so they would be forced to dump it into the ocean. This would inevitably affect the sea life and toxicity of the waters around Florida and Central America.
If all that isn’t enough to frighten you, wait until you hear this. In the event of a nuclear disaster, the workers of this now abandoned nuclear reactor would have no idea until it was far too late. Cuba at the time had no preventative monitoring systems to notify them of dangerous radiation levels. The training was so terrible that if a disaster occurred, Florida would be in serious danger with unsafe radiation landing on its shores within less than 24 hours of an accident. Everyone within an 18 mile radius of the structure would essentially be located in the “dead zone” where nothing would stand a chance of surviving.
Thankfully the Cold War ended when it did because if this now abandoned nuclear reactor was completed, who knows what damage it could have caused. Even engineers who worked on the reactor had great concerns of the build quality. This place was a complete disaster waiting to happen.
Defector Vladimir Cervera, a senior engineer responsible for overseeing quality control at the reactor, stated that x-ray analysis showed that the welding pipes for the cooling system were weakened by air pockets, bad soldering, and heat damage. Of the pipes that were originally approved, 15 percent were later found to be flawed. Another defector, Jose Oro, a senior nuclear engineer at the site, stated that the support structure of the plant contains numerous faulty seals and structural defects, and that the steam supply system has been left outdoors and uncovered since December 1990. This would have exposed the equipment to highly corrosive tropical salt air, risking critical damage.
More info: Wikipedia
Luckily the Cold War ended and the funds that were paying for this dangerous building were shut off, leaving behind a rusty shell of what could have been disastrous. All that is left behind is some rusty machinery and some crumbling concrete walls. If this place was finished, I imagine that the multiple severe storms in that area in the last 20 years would have created some catastrophic events for the US and Central America. If not that, then the nuclear waste being dumped into the ocean would be a great concern. Thankfully this place was abandoned.