Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Russia nuclear accident: The warning Russia gave nuclear test ban group as sites go silent | World | News

Russian officials are currently investigating a blast in the White Sea which killed five nuclear workers. The explosion – which killed five people installing an “isotope power source for a liquid-fuelled rocket engine” – took place on August 8. A resulting radiation leak led to spikes of background radiation in two Russian cities and raised concern among nuclear watch groups.

In their latest announcement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry hit out at an international watchdog, claiming the details of the event is not their business.

The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) claimed two Russian monitoring sites near the White Sea location went offline in the days following the explosion.

Another two locations went offline later, fuelling speculation that Russia may have tampered with them.

However, according to the Interfax news agency, Russian Deputy Russian Foreign Minister said its transmission of data from testing sites to the CTBTO was voluntary.

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The CTBTO is a preparatory commission formed in 1996 off the back of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

The treaty is yet to be signed into force, as it awaits ratification by eight countries.

Both Russia and the US have signed since its inception.

They watch for nuclear violations from some 300 monitoring stations placed around the world.

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One CTBTO official told CNN: “Experts continue to reach out to our collaborators in Russia to resume station operations as expediently as possible.”

Meanwhile, Russia is yet to provide a reason for the explosion which killed five workers, and officials have denied a rise in background radiation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied there was evidence of harmful radiation but said the government is taking preventative measures to avoid any surprises.

He said: “There is no threat here, no increase in the [radiation] background exists either.

“We don’t see any serious changes there, but preventive measures are being taken so there are no surprises.”

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The five workers killed in the mysterious explosion were hailed as “elite” and given a hero’s burial.

Their coffins were displayed in the main square of Sarov – where they worked – and transported to a nearby cemetery.

Flags in the city were lowered to half-mast while mourners gathered.

Valentin Kostyukov, director of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, said: “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.”

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