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Russian rocket crash sparks radiation fears

Russian rocket crash sparks radiation fears”

The authorities in Severodvinsk, a city around 30 kilometres (19 miles) away from the test site, said on their website that automatic radiation detection sensors in the city "recorded a brief rise in radiation levels" on Thursday morning, without saying what the levels were.

Two people died in an explosion at a military testing site in northern Russian Federation on Thursday, according to RIA news agency, citing the ministry of defence.

Early reports suggested there were heightened radiation levels near the town of Nyonoksa, where there is a site for testing ballistic missiles carried by Russia's nuclear-powered submarines. No official explanation has been given for why such an accident would cause radiation to spike.

Locals have rushed to buy medical iodine, with pharmacies' stocks of iodine reported to be running out in the cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk. A second said most of its supplies had been bought up.

Nyonoksa is on the coast of the Onega Bay of the White Sea in the Russian Arctic, about 40 kilometers west of Archangelsk, a major port used for exporting oil products and coal.

They quoted an unnamed source as saying: "As a result of the emergency, one person was killed".

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The accident occurred during tests on a liquid propellant rocket engine, RIA said, citing Rosatom. In less than half an hour, however, they dropped back to normal - and the daily average remained within the norms, thus posing little risk for the population, city authorities said.

"We continue to monitor the events in the Russian far north, but Moscow's assurances that "everything is normal" ring hollow to us", said the official.

Residents of two northern Russian cities are stocking up on iodine that is used to reduce the effects of radiation exposure after a mysterious accident on a nearby military testing site, regional media reported.

The explosion followed a massive fire that erupted Monday at a military ammunition depot near Achinsk in eastern Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region.

The military was also shaken by the deaths of 14 sailors killed in a fire on one of the navy's research submersibles in July 1.

Defense ministry officials have denied reports of high radiation levels near the base, and said there had been "no harmful discharges into the atmosphere".



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