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Russian Military Says 2 Dead, 4 Injured by Rocket Explosion

Two people were killed and a nearby city reported a rise in radiation levels when a rocket engine blew up at a testing site in northern Russian Federation on Thursday, forcing authorities to shut down part of a bay in the White Sea to shipping.

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

"As a result of the accident, six defence ministry employees and a developer were injured".

Reports placed it at a base near the town of Nyonoksa where the navy tests ballistic missiles.

There have been "no harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere", the Defense Ministry said, adding that "radiation levels are normal".

"There's no radioactive contamination", a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk region where the base is located told AFP.

A "short-term increase in radiation" was detected in the port city of Severodvinsk at 11.50am, according to a statement from the local administration. The town is south of Russia's main submarine-building facilities in Severodvinsk.

An unidentified naval officer quoted by Kommersant newspaper said the accident could have occurred at a testing site at sea and that the explosion of a rocket could have caused a toxic fuel spill.

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

The testing centre dates back to 1954 and was used by the Soviet Union to test its nuclear arsenal.

In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, a family watches explosions at a military ammunition depot near the city of Achinsk in eastern Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, in Achinsk, Russia. The blaze triggered powerful explosions that continued for about 16 hours, killing one person, injuring 13 others and forcing over 16,500 people to flee their homes.



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