Deadly Explosion

Five people were killed and three injured following a rocket explosion on an Arctic naval test range in Russia on Thursday, state nuclear company Rosatom confirmed

Russia's state nuclear agency has acknowledged for the first time that nuclear workers were involved in an explosion during a rocket engine test that caused a spike in radiation in a nearby city.

The agency, Rosatom, said five people killed in the blast were its staff members, and the accident involved "isotope power sources", giving no further details. Russia has given no official explanation for why the explosion of a rocket engine near the White Sea in northern Russia would have caused radiation to spike.

The explosion occurred in Nyonoksa, which is home to a testing site for intercontinental ballistic missiles Russia intends to use in its nuclear submarines. Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying the explosion didn’t release any radioactive or toxic substances into the atmosphere.

However, authorities in the town of Severodvinsk, which is located 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of Nyonoksa, reported an increase in radiation levels — but thankfully, they say it was minor and short-lived.

The rocket's fuel caught fire after the test, causing it to detonate, and the explosion threw several people into the sea, it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

There were no further details of the rocket or fuel type.

In a separate statement, Rosatom said the accident occurred during the engineering and technical support of "isotope power sources" on a liquid propulsion system.

According to an Associated Press report, the Severodvinsk officials said the city’s radiation level increased from its normal 0.1 microsieverts per hour to 2 microsieverts per hour for about 30 minutes.