Two individuals were killed, and a nearby city reported an increase in radiation ranges when a rocket engine blew up at a testing site in northern Russia on Thursday, forcing authorities to close down part of a bay in the White Sea to shipping.
Authorities reported the brief spike in radiation within the close by city of Severodvinsk, which has a population of 185,000. This contradicted the defense ministry, which was quoted earlier by state media as saying radiation was average.
RIA news agency quoted the protection ministry as saying no dangerous substances had been launched into the environment by the explosion of what it called a liquid-propellant rocket engine in the Arkhangelsk area. Along with the two deaths, it mentioned six people were injured in the blast.
The rocket engine explosion occurred at a weapons testing area close to the village of Nyonoksa in Arkhangelsk region, and the Interfax news agency cited unnamed security sources as saying.
Greenpeace cited knowledge from the Emergencies Ministry that it mentioned confirmed radiation levels had risen 20 times above the average degree in Severodvinsk, which lies around 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Nyonoksa.
The environmental group mentioned it had appealed to Russia’s shopper watchdog to establish how high radiation had risen, whether it posed a health risk to individuals and what had brought on the spike.
Russian media said an area close to Nyonoksa is used for exams on weapons including ballistic and cruise missiles that are used by the Russian navy.
An official at the northern port of Arkhangelsk stated an area of the Dvina Bay in the White Sea had been closed to shipping for a month because of the incident.