The rate of radioactivity, after the explosion that occurred Thursday, August 8 on a base of missile tests in the Far North, exceeded up to 16 times the usual rate, announced Tuesday, August 13, the Russian agency of meteorology .
On August 8, 2019, at 12 noon (9 am GMT), just after the explosion, "six out of eight Severodvinsk sensors experienced radiation power surges [which was then] four to sixteen times greater than to the usual one, "said Rosguidromet.
One of the sensors notably found a radioactivity rate of 1.78 microsievert per hour, while the regulatory limit is 0.6 microsievert in Russia and the average natural radioactivity in Severodvinsk is 0.11 microsievert. Rosguidromet says these levels of radioactivity have dropped quickly to return to normal in the afternoon.
The coastal town of Severodvinsk, with 190,000 inhabitants, is located about 30 kilometers from the Nionoksa base, where the explosion took place. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the risk of cancer can increase from 50 000 microsieverts received and the Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) French recommends sheltering populations from 10,000 microsieverts.
Five employees of the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom died in the August 8 explosion. According to the agency, they were working on "new weapons" and providing engineering and technical support for the "isotopic energy source" of a missile engine being developed.
According to US experts, the accident is likely related to the tests of a nuclear-powered cruise missile that Russia seeks to acquire, the 9M730 "Bourevestnik" ("Skyfall" in the NATO classification). On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to confirm that it was the missile.
The doctors who treated the victims of the explosion were sent to Moscow to take exams, the Tass news agency reported on Tuesday (August 13th), citing an unidentified source. The agency said they have signed a confidentiality agreement forbidding them to divulge any information on this mysterious explosion.
"The explosion of the Russian 'Skyfall' is worrying the public about the air quality around the site, and beyond, not good!", Tweeted Monday the US President Donald Trump.
The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, but more advanced, technology. The Russian "Skyfall" explosion has worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2019
With Reuters and AFP