An accident during a test with a rocket engine in northern Russia killed five employees of the Russian nuclear concern Rosatom on Thursday. According to reports from the region, radioactive radiation has been released, American experts suspect that this is a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
Another three employees were injured, the company announced on Saturday, reports the Russian news agency RIA. They sustained burns and received specialist help.
The Russian authorities reported earlier that two soldiers were killed and seven people were injured. Furthermore, the Russian Ministry of Defense has not made a statement about the circumstances.
The accident occurred at a test site of the armed forces at the Russian port of Archangelsk. A fire broke out as a result of the explosion. According to Rosatom, it would be an accident with a conventional liquid-powered rocket that did not release any hazardous substances.
Increased radiation level
The nearby municipality of Severodvinsk reported after the incident that an increased radiation level was briefly measured. That statement was later removed from the website.
According to local media, in the meantime residents have started to take up iodine. This medicine helps against the uptake of radioactivity by the thyroid gland.
Due to the incident, the port authorities have closed part of the White Sea for at least one month for shipping.
Experts think of a nuclear-powered cruise missile
Atomic scholars in the United States suspect that the accident happened while testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this year as one of the six new assault weapons in the Russian arsenal. The experts come to this conclusion because in an accident with a conventional weapon no radiation should be released.
It would be a new nuclear-powered rocket with an almost unlimited range that due to its unpredictable flight movements cannot be detected by anti-missile systems. Russia calls the new weapon the 9M730 Buresvestnik, NATO countries call it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.
A senior official in the Trump government did not want to confirm or deny that it is a nuclear-powered cruise missile, but said he was very skeptical based on anonymity against Reuters news agency. "We continue to monitor the situation in the far north of Russia, but the assurance from Moscow that nothing is wrong sounds hollow in our ears. This reminds us of the events around Chernobyl, where you have to ask whether the Kremlin values the well-being of the Russian population more than holding onto power. "
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