Fire on Russian nuclear sub ‘totally extinguished’

Nuclear-powered submarine Yekaterinburg

Russia says it has doused a raging blaze aboard a nuclear submarine after nearly a full day and night, by partially submerging the vessel after battling the flames with water from helicopters and tug boats.

Officials said there was no radiation leak and crew inside the submarine were monitoring the stricken vessel’s nuclear reactors, which had been shut down.

At least nine people were injured fighting the flames which witnesses quoted by local media said rose 10 metres above the Yekaterinburg submarine at the navy ship yard in the Murmansk region of northern Russia.

“The fire on the submarine has been totally extinguished,” Emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu told officials leading the firefighting effort, more than 20 hours after the blaze began.

His remarks were reported by Interfax news agency.

After hours of fighting the fire emergency officials decided to partially submerge the 18,200-tonne Yekaterinburg submarine at the Roslyakovo dock, one of the main dockyards of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 1,500 kilometres north of Moscow.

Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet, once the pride of the Soviet Union’s mighty armed forces, has been involved in a host of disasters including the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000 with the loss of all 118 people on board.

Official statements were vague, but the blaze is believed to have started when wooden scaffolding caught fire during welding repairs to the the 167-metre Yekaterinburg submarine, which had been hoisted into a dry dock.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into the incident.

The submarine, which launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea at a firing range as recently as July, can carry 16 ballistic missiles, each with four warheads, and a crew of 140.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said all its weapons had been removed before repairs started and its nuclear reactors were shut down.

“Radiation indicators are within normal levels. There is no threat to the local population,” the Emergencies Ministry said in a statement.

Russian submarines’ reactors are built to withstand enormous shocks and high temperatures.

Part of the crew was onboard the submarine to check carbon dioxide levels, the temperature and to ensure the safety of the nuclear reactors.

“Part of the crew remains on board and is carrying out regular monitoring every 30 minutes of the situation in the  nuclear submarine and around it,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Yekaterinburg is a Delta IV class submarine. Russia’s Northern Fleet was established under the Soviet Union to watch over European waters and was armed during the Cold War against threats from NATO.

The navy was criticised by Russia’s political leaders following the Kursk disaster for failing to give accurate information about the true nature of the disaster.

Reuters

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About pagan66

I am Pagan, a Witch, a Healer, Mystic & Dreamer. I live in Service to the One. I will Protect & Respect Her bounties to my last breath. I am a Seeker of Truth, a Reformer, A Historian - an Advocate for Religious Freedom, Tolerance & Human Rights. I am a Protector of Animals & Children & those less fortunate than myself. I am a Reader & a Writer - an Artist. I am a Drummer, Gardener & Cook. I listen to the Wisdom of the Ancients. If you take a copy of the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain." Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman. "When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation." Edain McCoy View all posts by pagan66

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