Radiation Spike Detected After Russian Rocket Explodes At Testing Facility

It's been a bad week for accidental explosions in Russia, as a second massive blast killed two people and injured six at a Barents Sea military facility after a liquid-propelled rocket engine exploded. 

Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

A "short-term increase in radiation" was detected in the port city of Severodvinsk at 11:50 a.m., falling back to normal range around 2 p.m. according to the Straits Timeswhich added that the incident happened in close proximity to shipyards where nuclear submarines are produced. 

"During the test of a liquid propellant jet engine, an explosion occurred and the equipment caught fire," said a Russian spokesman. "As a result of the accident, six defence ministry employees and a developer were injured. Two specialists died of their wounds.

The blast occurred in the town of Nyonoksa, about 40km from the port city of Severodvinsk, Interfax reported. The area in Russia's northern Arkhangelsk region is home to a weapons testing range for the navy.

"There's no radioactive contamination," a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk region, told AFP. -Straits Times

According to the Moscow Times, the Dvina Bay area of the White Sea would be closed to shipping for the forseeable future. 

The incident comes days after a series of massive explosions rocked a town near an ammunition depot in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region, killing one and injuring thirteen - including two military officers. 

A giant fireball and shockwave was captured on film after a fire broke out in a storage area for powdered artillery charges, according to Russia's TASS news agency. As a result, 16,500 people were evacuated from their homes. 


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And as Bloomberg notes, "Russia’s navy has suffered numerous high-profile accidents over the years. In July, 14 sailors died in a fire aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in an incident on which officials initially refused to comment.
Russia’s worst post-Soviet naval disaster also occurred in the Barents Sea, when 118 crew died on the Kursk nuclear submarine that sank in after an explosion in August 2000."