Explosion at Russian test site kills five engineers

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Five people have been killed and another three injured at a Russian military base after a nuclear-powered rocket engine exploded during testing.

According to a statement issued by Russian nuclear state agency Rosatom last week, the accident “took place during tests on a liquid propulsion system involving isotopes at a military facility in Arkhangelsk region”.

A fire broke out and the engine exploded following a successful test, throwing the men into the sea, Rosatom said.

The accident on August 8 occurred at the Nyonoksa test site in the northern Arctic region of Russia. The statement from Rosatom was issued after authorities in the nearby city of Severodvinsk recorded a spike in radiation levels.

The Nyonoksa site has been used for the testing of missiles and nuclear submarines since the Soviet era.

Speculation about the design of the missile under test at the site has been rife since the accident and the funeral for the five nuclear engineers who died. Experts believe the tests were for a nuclear-powered cruise missile, whose design can be traced back several decades to during the Cold War last century.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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