Published On: Mon, Aug 12th, 2019

Russia news: Radiation mystery takes new twist as officials admit TWO spikes | World | News

Pictures emerged of the five “elite” scientists – dubbed “national heroes” – who were lost due to an explosion and fire during a test of a nuclear engine for an advanced new missile to equip Vladimir Putin’s military machine. This came as Moscow admitted there were two – not one as previously disclosed – spikes in background radiation near Severodvinsk as a result of the accident. Two of the men were blown into the sea during at the top secret weapons testing zone in the White Sea.

Their bodies were initially lost but later found and funerals for all those killed will be held today in top secret closed nuclear research town Sarov, where foreigners are banned.

According to one version, the troubling missile accident came as the scientists were working on the nuclear engine of deadly Burevestnik cruise missile with “unlimited range”, nicknamed the ‘Flying Chernobyl’, when it exploded.

One of the dead was Evgeny Korotaev, 50, a leading electronics engineer and also a popular DJ, whose second wife had given birth to twin girls just seven months ago.

Like the other dead, he worked for the classified Institute of Experimental Physics based in Sarov, 235 miles east of Moscow, known as Arzamas-16 in Soviet times.

READ MORE: Russia nuclear leak: Footage reveals officials wearing hazmat suits 

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Russia news: Officials have admitted two separate radiation spikes were recorded last week (Image: GETTY / EAST2WESTNEWS)

His daughter from the first marriage, Oksana, 26, posted a childhood picture of her with her father and the caption: “Daddy, I love you so much.”

She only recently gave birth to his grandchild.

Another killed was Vyasheslav Yanovsky, 71, one of Russia’s most senior nuclear scientists, deputy head of research and testing at the institute.

He was an “honoured worker” of Moscow’s nuclear industry, and died alongside Vyacheslav Lipshev, 40, head of the institute’s research and development team.

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Smoke rises over a secret Russian military base after a deadly explosion (Image: TWITTER)

Lipishev’s widow Natalia Alexeeva, 40, posted a tribute: “I love you my dear, how will I live without you? You are my everything.”

Software and hardware specialist Alexey Vyushin, 43, who had developed a high-energy photon spectrometer, and Sergey Pichugin, 45, a testing engineer, were also killed.

All are expected to be honoured posthumously by Vladimir Putin.

Valentin Kostyukov, director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, belatedly acknowledged the disaster, but called the lost men “national heroes”.

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Five scientists died after a deadly explosion in Severodvinsk, western Russia (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

Previously Russia had admitted only one.

He said: “The tragedy happened, the explosion took the lives of five our friends, and three more are hospitalised.”

The lives of the three were “not in danger”, he said.

He said: “The death of our employees is the bitter loss for our institute and for the state corporation Rosatom.


Russia has been hit by several explosions in recent days, including the above Siberian blast (Image: TASS)

“The testers involved in this are of course the national heroes and we always believed that they are the elite of the federal nuclear centre.”

He said preparations for the top-secret task in the White Sea had been ongoing for one year.

He said: “But sadly the situation developed in a non-standard way and now a state commission is work to investigate the reasons.”

Alexander Chernyshov, deputy scientific director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, admitted there had been two surges of radiation in the aftermath of the accident.


This month’s blast in Siberia left several injured and sparked evacuations (Image: TASS)

He said: “Our people established by direct measurement that there really was – twice – an increase in background radiation.

“It lasted no longer than an hour.

“No residual radioactive pollution was found by our experts.”

Nuclear centre deputy head Vyacheslav Solovyev admitted the scientists were killed by an explosion in a small nuclear reactor, part of the engine of the missile.


Two scientists were blown into the sea after the explosion in Severodvinsk (Image: GETTY)

This “energy source” contained radioactive fissile materials, and he insisted the US was engaged in similar military developments.

He said: “We are now trying to figure out (what went wrong), working closely with the state commission, analysing the entire chain of events in order to assess the scale of the accident.”

The aim was to “understand its causes to exclude the possibility of such accidents in future”.

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