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Russian nuclear submarine catches fire at shipyard

7 April 2015 21:49


A Russian nuclear submarine has caught fire at a shipyard in Russia’s northern province of Arkhangelsk, but there are no casualties or threats as the vessel was not carrying any nuclear fuel.

The 155-meter (508-feet) K-266 Orel (Eagle) submarine was being repaired at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in the city of Severodvinsk, located in the delta of the Northern Dvina River, on Tuesday, when the blaze broke out.

The conflagration started as welding works were being carried out, with rubber insulation catching fire, according to a report published by Russian TASS news agency.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry declined to comment on the fire at the Zvyozdochka shipyard. Russia’s United Shipbuilding Company, however, confirmed the incident, adding that nobody was hurt.

The submarine’s nuclear reactor had reportedly been shut down before the blaze.

A spokesperson for Zvyozdochka shipyard, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Interfax news agency that there were no casualties, and all crew and workers left the craft in time.

“Nuclear fuel from the submarine was unloaded in 2013 before repair works began, and there is no weaponry on the craft,” the spokesperson stated.

By late afternoon, firefighters had reportedly contained the blaze.

“The fire has been localized, there is no threat to the population or the environment,” the spokesperson noted.

A Russian welder cuts up submarine parts at Zvezdochka shipyard in Severovdinsk, Archangel, Russia. (File photo)
A similar fire at a nuclear submarine occurred in Russia in December 2011, when the K-84 Yekaterinburg of Delta-IV class caught fire during welding works in dry dock.

The blaze, which lasted for some 20 hours, left nine people injured after inhaling toxic fumes and caused dozens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

The incident nearly led to a nuclear disaster, even though Russian officials insisted the nuclear-powered submarine was not carrying atomic weapons at the time.

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