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Operation Morning Light



The Soviet nuclear-powered satellite has become a well-known piece of Yellowknife history.

In 1978, Kosmos 954 crashes near Great Slave Lake, scattering radioactive waste across a 124,000 square kilometre swath of the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

At first, the USSR claimed that the satellite had been completely destroyed. But searches showed debris from the satellite had been deposited on Canadian territory.

Photo: Kosmos 954 Debris, Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa

The effort to recover radioactive material from the satellite was dubbed Operation Morning Light. The incident took eight months to clean up and nearly $14 million.

Watch the story on CBC, 1978


Yellowknife painter Nick MacIntosh has created works of art Kosmos 954 featuring the satellite and well-known local landmarks. It displays at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

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