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A nuclear submarine is on fire in Russia, but 'there's nothing to worry about'

It is believed the vessel wasn’t carrying nuclear fuel.

File photo of a Russian submarine.
File photo of a Russian submarine.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A NUCLEAR SUBMARINE undergoing repairs caught fire in a Russia shipyard earlier today, officials said, although reports indicated the vessel was not carrying nuclear fuel.

“There was a fire” on the submarine at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in the northern city of Severodvinsk, according to a representative who answered the phone at the local emergency services centre.

“They are putting out the fire,” she told AFP. “There is nothing to worry about.”

Ilya Zhitomirsky, spokesman for the United Shipbuilding Corporation which manages the facility, said the vessel in question is the Orel, a cruise missile type sub with two reactors that is classified as Oscar-II by NATO.

“The nuclear fuel had been unloaded from Orel before it was put up on dry dock. The reactor is turned off. No workers or crew members were injured during the fire,” he told RIA Novosti agency.

The website of the Zvyozdochka (Star) shipbuilder said the Orel has been under repair since November 2013 and that the work would take two years.

Sources told Russian agencies that the blaze started when some insulation material caught fire during welding work onboard the vessel.

In 2011, the rubberised coating on another nuclear sub called the Yekaterinburg caught fire while it was under repair in the northern port of Murmansk, injuring nine people who inhaled noxious fumes.

- © AFP, 2015

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