Russia's state nuclear agency Rosatom says five of its staff members have been killed in an accident during tests on a military site in northern Russian Federation, the RIA news agency reports. The test took place on a sea platform during a period of work related to the engineering and technical support of "isotopic power sources" in a "liquid propulsion system", the agency said.
Locals have rushed to buy medical iodine, with pharmacies' stocks of iodine reported to be running out in the cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk. An increase in background radiation was registered on the test site, but the measurements are said to have soon returned to normal.
Several staff were thrown into the sea by the force of the blast, the nuclear agency said, adding that it only announced the deaths when there was no longer any hope that the employees had survived.
Russia's military in an initial statement said two were killed in the accident and it was not known whether those two deaths were among the five that Rosatom reported.
Officials also ordered shipping in the nearby Dvina Bay region of the White Sea, near both the military facility where the explosion occurred and a nuclear submarine production facility.
A rocket explosion in Russian Federation has sparked reports of a spike in radiation levels and sent residents into panic - even as the Kremlin denies anyone's in danger.
Greenpeace cited data from the Emergency Situations Ministry that it said showed radiation levels had risen 20 times above the normal level in Severodvinsk around 30 kilometers from Nyonoksa.
Reuters quoted two us -based nuclear experts as saying they suspected the blast and radiation release occurred during the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile that President Vladimir Putin spoke of a year ago.
Those reports say an area near Nyonoksa is used for tests on weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles that are used by the Russian Navy.
The Friday explosions at the ammunition depot near the city of Achinsk in eastern Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region were caused by lightning, the Russian Defence Ministry said, according to state news agency Tass.
A state commission is investigating the accident.
On August 9, local authorities said nine people were injured in new explosions at the same site, with authorities saying the blast was "caused by a lightning strike".
Russia's defense ministry confirmed the explosion Thursday, initially saying that two were killed and six injured in the failed test, indicating that three of those first reported injured have since died.