Radiation levels 16 times above normal after Russian rocket explosion

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Radiation levels near the site of a deadly rocket explosion in Russia’s far north spiked 16 times above normal, Rosgidromet , Russia’s weather service has said.

Rosgidromet measured radiation levels in the port city of Severodvinsk after the blast.

The explosion happened off the coast of the city at a military facility in the White Sea last Thursday.

Officials have been slow to release information about Thursday’s blast, which led to a radiation spike in a nearby city and sparked heightened demand for iodine.

Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom, said a nuclear-powered engine was being tested.

Five of its scientists were killed and three injured in the accident, near the village of Nyonoksa and Russian authorities recommended residents leave area while work is carried out nearby.

Readings for gamma radiation at six testing stations in Severodvinsk, a city of 180,000 people, ranged from 4 to 16 times the normal rate of 0.11 microsieverts per hour, Rosgidromet said.

Authorities in Severodvinsk, 47 km east of Nyonoksa, said that radiation levels shortly after the blast were higher than normal for about 40 minutes but returned to normal. In contrast, Rosgidromet said the spike lasted for two-and-a-half hours.

Scientific Head of the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, academician Leonid Bolshov earlier told TASS that there was no threat to the health of people after the incident at the military test site in the Arkhangelsk Region.


Via BBC/ Moscow Times/ Reuters/ TASS

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