Nuclear sub caught in dockyard fire

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A MASSIVE fire engulfed a Russian nuclear submarine at an Arctic shipyard last night, but emergency officials said radiation levels were normal.

The fire at the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine occurred while it was in dock for repairs at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region, said Irina Gretskaya, a spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry’s branch in the area.

“No one has been hurt and there has been no radiation leak,” she said.

Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that all weapons had been unloaded from the sub and its reactor had been shut down before the repairs.

He said the fire had started on the wooden scaffolding and then engulfed the submarine’s 550ft-long outer hull. Most modern submarines’ outer hulls are covered with rubber to make them less noisy and more difficult for an enemy to detect.

He said the fire has now been contained, and there was no danger of it spreading inside.

The 18,200-tonne Yekaterinburg is a Delta-IV-class nuclear-powered submarine that normally carries 16 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was built in 1984.