No radiation leak after nuclear submarine fire

No radiation leak has been detected after the fire on the nuclear submarine Yekaterinburg in Russia’s Murmansk Region. Fire brigades have finally managed to put out the fire. Nine people have been hospitalized with minor injuries.

The Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief have called off the increased radiation control status in Murmansk, which was put into action after the fire started.

The sub's nuclear reactor has been shut down and its 16 nuclear-tipped missiles had all been unloaded before the repairs.

Russia’s Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring Agency has also confirmed that radiation levels in area in the Murmansk Region correspond to the regular readings.

Meanwhile, the Yekaterinburg’s commanding officer reported from aboard the submarine that radiation levels on the submarine are normal, says the Defense Ministry’s spokesman.

"Part of the crew is on board the vessel and is monitoring the parameters of temperature and carbon dioxide in all compartments of the submarine,” he said. The measurements are carried out every 30 minutes.

The fire on board a strategic nuclear submarine was brought under control by emergency workers at 21:40 GMT on Thursday, and completely put out by 09:30 GMT Friday.

The temperature in the first torpedo room of the nuclear submarine is 30 degrees Centigrade, a member of the committee working on the submarine told the media on Friday. The twin-bodied sub has a space between its light external and heavy internal hulls to collect and release ballast water. As the fire struck the outer shell, the temperature in the inner hull, including the first torpedo room, increased. Water was pumped on to the submarine to cool it down, a source in the Russia’s Investigation Committee told RIA Novosti.

Nuclear submarine K-84 Yekaterinburg was put into service on December 1985, racking up over 90,000 nautical miles between then and 1996. The vessel, which was named after the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 1990, is a part of the Russia’s Northwestern Fleet within the country’s Military Naval Forces. The sub’s military complex includes a rocket complex D-9RM, capable of firing rockets at a range of 9,300 kilometers. For self-defense purposes, the vessel employs six torpedo tubes and 16 torpedoes of various calibers. Submarines of this type are a staple of the Russian strategic naval force. All of them are part of the Northwestern Fleet and based in Yangelnaya Bay in Russia’s Murmansk Region.

Full repair of the Yekaterinburg will take several months, said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. But before that a commission will “make a decision on whether it is practical to restore the vessel and put it into service in the future,” as Interfax quotes an investigator as saying. This means the submarine could end up being disposed of.

According to Russia’s Investigation Committee spokesman, Vladimir Markin, investigators from the military had already begun inspecting the submarine to investigate the cause of the fire.

“Experienced criminal investigators of the Main Military Investigation Committee flew in from Moscow to provide practical assistance to the investigation team on the site,” Markin said. "Fifty witnesses have been questioned. Investigators are studying the documentation seized at the dockyard.”

No one was seriously injured during the fire. Altogether nine people have been hospitalized due to smoke inhalation and are likely to be discharged from hospital by tonight, reports RIA Novosti.

The fire began Thursday at an Arctic shipyard in Russia’s northern Murmansk region where the submarine Yekaterinburg was in dry dock. It started on a wooden scaffolding, then engulfed the submarine's rubber-coated outer hull.

­Watch video of the firefighting operation