9 Aug 2019 13:51

Radiation levels normal in Arkhangelsk explosion area - authorities

ARKHANGELSK. Aug 9 (Interfax) - Radiation levels are normal at the military testing range in the Arkhangelsk region, where an explosion occurred on Thursday, a Nenoksa administrative district official told Interfax on Friday.

"All is quiet. There has been no evacuation. Radiation levels are normal," the official said.

No recommendations have been given to the local population after the incident, he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that two people were killed and six were injured as a result of explosion during tests of a rocket propulsion unit at a military testing range in the Arkhangelsk region. "There was no discharge of harmful substances into the atmosphere, and radiation levels stayed normal," the ministry said.

Sources told Interfax that the incident happened in the Nenoksa administrative district, at the Russian Navy's central naval testing range (Sopka). Nenoksa is located 40 kilometers from Severodvinsk.

The newspaper Vedomosti said on Thursday citing a source in the defense industry that the explosion happened during tests of the engine of the Russian Navy's sea-launched rocket.

The Dvinsky Bay of the White Sea, where the explosion happened on Thursday, will be closed for navigation for a month, Arkhangelsk Seaport Deputy Captain Sergei Kozub told Interfax on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the newspaper Kommersant referred to a Navy sailor and said on Friday that navigation might have been suspended due to the rocket incident caused by a combination of the fuel, unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (heptyl), and the oxidizer.

"Rockets have fallen into the sea before, and every time waters have been closed for navigation for quite some time. Heptyl will be dissolved to safe concentrations three or four weeks later, and there will be no need for further restrictions," Kommersant said.

The Severodvinsk administration said on Thursday that "radiation levels grew to two 2 micro-sieverts per hour in the city" between 11:50 a.m. and 12:20 p.m on August 8. Levels higher than 0.6 micro-sieverts are the emergency response norm.

Arkhangelsk Region Governor Igor Orlov told Interfax on Thursday night that radiation levels did not grow in the region after the explosion at the military testing range.

"Environmental measurements confirm natural levels. There are no deviations. This is proven by all services, and all controlling systems," he said.