Russian Rocket Explodes at Test Site, Two Killed, 'Spike in Radiation' Detected

Russian Rocket Explodes at Test Site, Two Killed, 'Spike in Radiation' Detected

Russian Rocket Explodes at Test Site, Two Killed, 'Spike in Radiation' Detected

The officials said background radiation levels returned to normal soon afterward.

The state-run RIA news agency quoted the Defense Ministry as saying no unsafe substances had been released into the atmosphere by the explosion of what it called a liquid-propellant rocket engine in the Arkhangelsk region.

Russia's Sputnik news agency reported earlier Thursday that two people were killed and 15 others were injured in the explosion.

Severodvinsk authorities said on their website that automatic radiation detection sensors in the city "recorded a brief rise in radiation levels".

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"During the test of a liquid propellant jet engine, an explosion occurred and the equipment caught fire", the ministry said of the incident in the small town of Nyonoska.

"Six representatives of the Defense Ministry and of the manufacturer have sustained injuries of varying severity at the scene", the defense ministry said.

It is not clear what caused the blasts, although lax safety precautions have caused similar accidents in the past. Thursday's explosion, the state-run TASS News Agency reported, triggered a spike in radiation in a nearby city. Severodvinsk is the site of a shipyard that builds nuclear-powered submarines.

On August 6, one person died and eight people were wounded in a series of blasts at an ammunition depot in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai.

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