The area of the White Sea, where it is believed that an explosion occurred at a military training ground, was closed for shipping, Kommersant reported.
By the decision of the Ministry of Defense, the water area north of the village of Nenoks will have to be bypassed. The ban shall remain into effect from August 9th to September 10th.
At the same time, some increase of the level of radiation was recorded near Severodvinsk following an explosion in a military unit. The background radiation rose immediately after an emergency around noon, local authorities said. The level of radiation in the area reportedly exceeded the norm three times.
This was confirmed in the regional Ministry of Emergencies, Rashid Alimov, project manager for the Greenpeace energy program in Russia, told Kommersant:
“Between 11.30 to 12.30, background values of gamma radiation up to 2 microsieverts per hour were recorded, which is a rather noticeable excess.
Now it is important to understand which radionuclides are in the air, it is necessary for the authorities to report whether something is threatening the lives of people and what measures are being taken. We also contacted the Norwegian Directorate for Radiation Protection, we are waiting for their information. In the certificate sent to us by the Ministry of Emergencies in the Arkhangelsk region, it is recommended to measure the spectra, the values with the flux density of beta and alpha radiation on the surface and collect soil and air samples. It is necessary to find out what the radionuclide composition is in the air now, to understand what really happened and where. We do not know the dispersion power, what background was in other places where the ejection occurred. Perhaps in some places it could be higher. All this must be established before talking about something,”Alimov explained.
According to civilian sailors themselves, the ban was imposed at the request of the military.
Some reprots speculate that the closure of the water area could be due to the destruction of a rocket during an emergency, as a result of which the fuel – asymmetric dimethylhydrazine (heptyl) – combined with an oxidizing agent led to an explosion.
“At the same time, tons of this extremely toxic substance could be in the water. The ban on shipping in this case is primarily due to the need to prevent the poisoning of local residents, for whom fishing is a traditional business,” the report speculated.
Quoted anonymous sources claimed that missile crashes into the sea had been recorded earlier, and each time restrictions were placed on navigation in the accident area for a sufficiently long time. And after three to four weeks, heptyl is dissolved in water to a safe concentration, and the need for restrictions disappears by itself.
The explosion and fire 30 kilometers from Severodvinsk (in the Arkhangelsk region) occurred on August 8.
As per official information from the Ministry of Defense, a liquid propulsion system was being tested, and during the test there was an explosion. As a result two specialists of the Russian Ministry of Defense were killed, six people were injured.
It is largely unclear what exactly caused the incident, since the Ministry of Defense provided one official version, while various media cite different sources and provide different versions of what happened and how many victims there were.
News Agencies cited sources in their reports claiming that ammunition detonated on one of the ships and a fire started.
It is assumed that the explosion occurred at the training ground of a military unit near the village of Nenoks, Nikolai Karenyevich, a Belomorkanal news agency correspondent, said:
“There were no explosions in Nenoks itself or in the military unit nearby, according to preliminary information. The accident occurred in the White Sea opposite the village, which is located on the shore, there are missile tests.”
Kommersant cited military expert Vladislav Shurygin who said that closed tests of new products are being conducted at a military training ground near Severodvinsk:
“This missile training ground is a very famous “nine ”, as it was called in the north, with a very long and rich history where tests were constantly being conducted of all our marine rocket technology. This is a closed territory, and hardly anything will jump out of there.”
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