5 dead in Russia :U.S.-based experts suspect blast involved nuclear-powered missile - Whisper Eye

5 dead in Russia :U.S.-based experts suspect blast involved nuclear-powered missile


Five people were killed and three injured following a rocket explosion on a naval test range in Russia on Thursday, state nuclear company Rosatom confirmed.
Rostacom said the accident occurred during tests on a liquid propellant rocket engine.


The three injured staff members suffered serious burns in the accident.
Authorities had previously said that two people died and six were injured in the blast at the site in Nyonoksa.


The company told Russian media that its engineering and technical team had been working on the “isotope power source” for the propulsion system.
The Nyonoksa site carries out tests for virtually every missile system used by the Russian navy, including sea-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.


Authorities in Severodvink, 47km (29 miles) east of Nyonska said that radiation levels shortly after the blast were higher than normal for about 40 minutes but returned to normal.


Locals have rushed to buy medical iodine, with pharmacies’ stocks of iodine reported to be running out in the cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk
The rush for iodine was reported earlier by a news website for the Arkhangelsk region, 29.ru

It also said medics who evacuated the injured at Nyonoksa wore chemical and nuclear protection suits.
There was a rush on iodine stocks during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, which sent a huge plume of radiation across Europe.
On Thursday the Severodvinsk administration reported a 40-minute spike in radiation, which reached 2 microsieverts per hour, then fell back to the normal 0.11 microsieverts. Both levels are too small to cause radiation sickness.


The administration has now deleted its statement online about the spike. The BBC asked officials there why, and they said “because this incident comes under the authority of the defense ministry”.


The defence ministry insisted that “there have been no harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere, the radiation levels are normal”.
It is the second accident involving Russia’s military this week.


On Monday, one person was killed and eight others were injured in a blaze at an ammunition dump in Siberia.
Flying munitions damaged a school and a kindergarten in the area. More than 9,500 people were evacuated.


U.S.-based nuclear experts said on Friday they suspected an accidental blast and radiation release in northern Russia this week occurred during the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile vaunted by President Vladimir Putin last year.


The Russian Ministry of Defense, quoted by state-run news outlets, said that two people died and six were injured on Thursday in an explosion of what it called a liquid propellant rocket engine. No dangerous substances were released, it said. Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom said early on Saturday that five of its staff members died.


A spokeswoman for Severodvinsk, a city of 185,000 near the test site in the Arkhangelsk region, was quoted in a statement on the municipal website as saying that a “short-term” spike in background radiation was recorded at noon Thursday. The statement was not on the site on Friday.


The Russian Embassy did not immediately respond for comment.
Two experts said in separate interviews with Reuters that a liquid rocket propellant explosion would not release radiation.


They said that they suspected the explosion and the radiation release resulted from a mishap during the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile at a facility outside the village of Nyonoksa.


“Liquid fuel missile engines exploding do not give off radiation, and we know that the Russians are working on some kind of nuclear propulsion for a cruise missile,” said Ankit Panda, an adjunct senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists.


Russia calls the missile the 9M730 Buresvestnik. The NATO alliance has designated it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.
A senior Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he would not confirm or deny that a mishap involving a nuclear-powered cruise missile occurred. But he expressed deep skepticism over Moscow’s explanation.


“We continue to monitor the events in the Russian far north but Moscow’s assurances that ‘everything is normal’ ring hollow to us,” said the official.
“This reminds us of a string of incidents dating back to Chernobyl that call into question whether the Kremlin prioritizes the welfare of the Russian people above maintaining its own grip on power and its control over weak corruption streams.”



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