Russia: Radiation levels rose by up to 16 times after accident

Radiation levels spiked during half-hour following nuclear explosion, despite initial reports as being 'normal,' reports say.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Mark Neiman, Flash 90

Radiation levels in Severodvinsk, Russia, rose four to sixteen times after an accident during a rocket test killed five nuclear engineers last week, TASS reported.

At the time, Rostaom, Russia's nuclear energy agency, said the explosion occurred during testing of an "isotope power source for a liquid-fueled rocket engine."

Severodvinsk is approximately 25 miles from where the nuclear explosion occurred.

Russia's Defense Ministry initially reported normal radiation levels, but authorities in Severodvinsk reported a brief half-hour spike, which Rosgidromet, the country's weather agency, estimated to be between 4-16 times the normal levels.

According to Greenpeace, radiation levels rose twenty times following the failed test.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized that Russia's "developments in this area surpass the level achieved by other countries, and are quite unique."

"Unfortunately, incidents do occur," he told TASS. "For us, it is important to remember those heroes who have lost their lives as a result of these incidents."

Interfax news agency reported that Russia closed off a section of the White Sea to shipping for a month after the fatal explosion of a rocket engine on a military testing ground in Russia's north earlier on Thursday.