“The nuclear accident that occurred had nothing to do with nuclear testing and is not under the purview of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [adopted by the UN in 1996],” Aleksey Karpov, Russia’s deputy permanent envoy to international organizations in Vienna, said on Monday.
Karpov said the testing related to “retaliatory measures in connection with the US unilateral withdrawal” from the landmark 1972 arms control treaty to limit anti-ballistic missile systems (ABM treaty), which the US withdrew from in 2002.
According to Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, the accident happened on board a sea platform in the Arkhangelsk region, while the scientists were working on an “isotope power source” for a “liquid-propellant engine.”
According to the Russian emergencies ministry, the radiation levels in the area are at a “natural, normal level” and there were “no accounts of ecological disaster, like some media are trying to portray.”
Reports of a nuclear radiation “spike” waves in Western media after the accident, despite reassurances from local authorities that radiation levels were within normal parameters and there was no danger to public safety. Videos of specialists wearing hazmat suits to take measurements on the helicopter that airlifted victims from the scene fuelled the conspiracy theories.
Five people were killed in an explosion during tests on a military site in northern Russia, the country's state nuclear agency Rosatom said on Saturday. The accident on Thursday happened during the testing of a liquid propellant rocket engine at a missile test site in the northwestern region of Arkhangelsk, the agency said.
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