No radiation threat in fire on Russian nuclear sub

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2011 12:59 PM
No radiation threat in fire on Russian nuclear sub

A massive fire engulfed a Russian nuclear submarine at an Arctic shipyard Thursday, but there has been no radiation leak, or injuries, officials said.

The fire at the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine occurred while it was in dock for repairs at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region, said Irina Gretskaya, a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry's branch in the area.

"No one has been hurt and there has been no radiation leak," she said.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told The Associated Press that all weapons had been unloaded from the sub and its reactor had been shut down before the repairs.

Konashenkov said the fire had started on the wooden scaffolding and then engulfed the submarine's outer hull. Most modern submarines' outer hulls are covered with rubber to make them less noisy and more difficult for an enemy to detect.

He said the fire has now been contained, and there was no danger of it spreading inside.

The Yekaterinburg is a Delta-IV-class nuclear-powered submarine that normally carries 16 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was built in 1984.

Russian television stations showed footage from the scene, with flames reaching far into the night skies over the massive dock. Meanwhile, plumes of smoke engulfed the area.

The fire sparked radiation fears and talk of the possible evacuation of local residents, but officials insisted that it posed no danger. A dozen firefighting crews and a fire boat were fighting the blaze.

Military prosecutors have launched a check into the causes of the fire.