DATE=8/14/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA SUB (L) NUMBER=2-265449 BYLINE=BILL GASPERINI DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Russian navy says rescue efforts are underway in an attempt to reach a stricken submarine and more than 100 crew members believed to be on board. But, as Bill Gasperini reports from Moscow, Russia's senior navy commander says he is not optimistic about the prospects for a rescue. TEXT: Russian Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov (Kur-o-yed- ov) says it appears the submarine suffered serious damage in some kind of collision, although he did not go into more detail. However other naval officials say the submarine could have collided with a foreign submarine. The vessel, known as the "Kursk", was involved in a large-scale naval exercise at the time of the accident. However submarines from different countries are known to shadow each other. The stricken submarine is one of the newest in Russia's fleet, having entered service five years ago. It is powered by two nuclear reactors. There are some reports of flooding in the forward section of the vessel. But navy spokesman Igor Dygalo (Di-galo) says there is little danger of a nuclear accident or radiation leakage from the Kursk. /// DYGALO ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// He says, "I would like to stress that there are no nuclear weapons on this submarine. The two engine reactors were also stopped, and are under control, so the radiation in the zone where the submarine is lying is normal." The Kursk is reportedly sitting on the ocean floor about 100 meters below the surface. At least ten rescue vessels are now in the area trying to render assistance. But Thomas Nilson of the environmental organization Bellona, based in nearby Norway, says any rescue attempt would be difficult. /// NILSON ACT /// If the information that was presented is correct that the submarine has quite huge damage in the fore section, it means that it will be very hard to lift the submarine to surface again. This is a huge submarine, 13-thousand tons. If the depth is more than 100 meters, I don't know about any rescue vessels that are able to lift such a huge submarine. /// END ACT /// The Bellona Foundation has been active in monitoring the environmental situation in the Barents Sea. It has issued at least two reports with information about various minor accidents involving nuclear vessels which took place during Soviet times. The Russian military has also been accused of dumping nuclear waste in the Barents and other parts of the Arctic. Norway's defense ministry has offered to help in the rescue efforts. But a spokesman in Oslo says that so far, the Russians have made no request for assistance. (Signed) NEB/BG/JWH/FC 14-Aug-2000 13:59 PM EDT (14-Aug-2000 1759 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .