Two Dead in Explosion at Russian Military Base

Radiation after deadly rocket blast

Russian rocket engine explosion kills two, sparks minor radiation concern

An explosion on a missile engine unit at a military testing site in northern Russian Federation killed two people on Thursday, but released no unsafe substances into the atmosphere, RIA news agency cited the ministry of defense as saying.

According to the ministry, the radiation level remained normal after the emergency and there were no hazardous escapes into the atmosphere. Six people were injured in the incident, it said. The officials said background radiation levels returned to normal soon afterward.

Nyonoksa hosts a navy facility that serves as a base for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles intended for nuclear submarines.

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As the rocket engine blew up at the testing site, it forced the authorities to shut down part of a bay in the White Sea area for a month now. "Two specialists died of their wounds", it added.

"There's no radioactive contamination", a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk region, where the base is situated, told AFP. "Currently, the levels have normalised".

It is not clear what caused the blasts, although lax safety precautions have caused similar accidents in the past.

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The brief spike in radiation was reported by authorities in the nearby city of Severodvinsk, which has a population of 185,000.

The explosion Thursday in Nyonoksa followed a massive fire that erupted Monday at a military ammunition depot near Achinsk in eastern Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region. The accident occurred in the town of Nyonoksa, about 25 miles from Severodvinsk, Interfax reported.

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