Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Russian Federation says five died in missile test explosion

Russian Federation says five died in missile test explosion

Statements on Saturday by state nuclear agency Rosatom were the first confirmation of the involvement of the body responsible for Russia's atomic power industry.

Russian Federation has said that five nuclear agency workers were killed Thursday by a blast during testing of a nuclear-powered missile at an Arctic facility. The rocket's fuel caught fire after the test, causing it to detonate and the explosion threw several people into the sea, it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

"We need to understand the radiation jump in cities closer [to the site of the explosion] than Severodvinsk", Rashid Alimov, the head of Greenpeace Russia's energy program, told The Moscow Times. Isotope sources use various types of fuel: "plutonium, promethium or cerium", Zhuikov said.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Thursday's explosion took place during testing of a liquid propellant rocket engine.

Port authorities on Friday declared the Dvinsky Bay near Severodvinsk closed to shipping until September 10 at the request of the military, the Fontanka.ru news website reported, citing local officials who gave no explanation.

Russia's Ministry of Defence has given few details.

The Arkhangelsk region site is one of the main research and development facilities for the Russian Navy, where sea-based ballistic, intercontinental, cruise and anti-aircraft missiles are being developed and tested.

Rosatom's description of the incident could indicate it was testing the nuclear-powered cruise missile Burevestnik mentioned during a speech by Vladimir Putin previous year.

Authorities in Severodvinsk, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the test site, said Thursday on their website that automatic radiation detection sensors in the city "recorded a brief rise in radiation levels" around noon that day.

He says the ship's presence may be related to the testing of Russia's latest nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Dvina Bay, a shipping bay in the White Sea, has been consequently closed for a month, multiple social media sources, though unconfirmed, report people in the area seeking medical treatment for radiation exposure, and initial readings have shown levels of radiation in the areas adjoining the blast to now remain at a number 20 times higher than the average level for that region.

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