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RUSSIA: INCIDENTE SOTTOMARINO NUCLEARE, OLTRE 20 MORTI



La Repubblica 9-11-08

RUSSIA: INCIDENTE SOTTOMARINO NUCLEARE, OLTRE 20 MORTI

Oltre 20 persone sono morti a bordo di un sottomarino a propulsione nucleare della Flotta russa del Pacifico in seguito a un incidente, probabilmente un incendio, durante un test in mare. Lo ha riferito il comandante Igor Dygalo dell'ammiragliato di Mosca citato dall'agenzia Itar-Tass. "Il sottomarino non e' danneggiato, il reattore funziona normalmente e il livello delle radiazioni e' normale" ha riferito il comandante Dygalo specificando che l'incidente, con ogni probabilita' un incendio, si e' verificato "durante le prove a mare di un sottomarino a propulsione nucleare della Flotta del Pacifico. Il sistema antincendio e' andato fuori uso senza far scattare alcun allarme uccidendo oltre 20 persone, compresi i marinai e i meccanici a bordo". All'unita', di nuova costruzione, e' stato ordinato di tornare in porto. Il ministro della Difesa Anatoly Serdyukov ha riferito dell'incidente al presidente Dmitry Medvedev che ha ordinato un'inchiesta "completa e meticolosa" e di fornire "tutto il possibile sostegno alle famiglie delle vittime".

Russia: More than 20 dead in nuclear sub accident

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- An accident aboard a nuclear-powered Russian navy submarine doing a test run in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday killed more than 20 people, the navy said. A file photo of the Shchuka-B type Russian submarine, classified by NATO as Akula.

A file photo of the Shchuka-B type Russian submarine, classified by NATO as Akula.

The nuclear reactor aboard the submarine was operating normally and radiation levels were normal, navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said on Sunday.

The accident occurred when a fire-extinguishing system went into operation in error aboard the submarine, Dygalo said. He said there were 208 people aboard, including 81 servicemen. The dead included sailors and shipbuilders.

It was unclear what activated the fire-extinguishing system or how the victims were killed. The state-run RIA-Novosti news agency cited an unnamed shipbuilding expert as saying fire systems on Russia's nuclear-powered submarines usually use foam and chemicals.

It was Russia's worst naval accident since explosions sank another nuclear-powered submarine, the Kursk, in the Barents Sea in 2000, killing all 118 seamen aboard. In 2003, 11 people died when a submarine that was being taken out of service also sank in the Barents Sea.

RIA-Novosti cited an unnamed official in Russia's Pacific Fleet as saying Saturday's accident occurred toward the bow of the submarine and that there was no threat to the nuclear reactor, closer to the center.

Dygalo would not name the submarine or say exactly where the accident took place. RIA-Novosti cited an unnamed official at the Amur Shipbuilding Factory as saying the sub was built there, is called the Nerpa and was on a test run in the Sea of Japan when the accident occurred.

According to RIA-Novosti, testing on the submarine began last month and it submerged for the first time last week.

The submarine was heading back to shore on its own power. Dygalo said Sunday morning that it was still at sea, accompanied by a rescue vessel, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Dygalo said the 21 people injured in the accident were brought to the Russian port of Vladivostok by the destroyer Admiral Tributs, ITAR-Tass reported. They were expected to be taken to a navy hospital, and there was no immediate word on their condition.

First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kolmakov and navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky were heading for the Pacific Coast in the wake of the accident, Dygalo said.

The Kremlin said President Dmitry Medvedev had been informed about the accident immediately by his defense minister and was receiving frequent updates, Russian news agencies reported. Medvedev ordered a thorough investigation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was criticized for his slow response to the Kursk disaster, which marred the first of his eight years as president.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/11/08/russia.submarine.ap/index.html