Russia acknowledges mysterious rocket explosion involved nuclear workers

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(Reuters) – Russia’s state nuclear agency acknowledged for the first time on Saturday that nuclear workers were involved in an explosion during a rocket engine test that caused a spike in radiation in a nearby city.

The agency, Rosatom, said five people killed in the blast were its staff members, and the accident involved “isotope power sources”, giving no further details.

Russia has given no official explanation for why the explosion of a rocket engine near the White Sea in northern Russia would have caused radiation to spike. 

Statements on Saturday by state nuclear agency Rosatom were the first confirmation of the involvement of the body responsible for Russia’s atomic power industry. 

Rosatom said five of its staff members were killed and three others injured in the blast, which took place during a rocket test on a sea platform. The rocket’s fuel caught fire after the test, causing it to detonate and the explosion threw several people into the sea, it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies. 

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