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Russia: First Post-Chornobyl Atomic Victim Dies

Moscow, 20 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - An atomic weapons researcher who became Russia's first nuclear accident victim since the 1986 Chornobyl disaster died today at a Moscow hospital.

Alexander Zakharov received a high dose of radiation calculated at more than 600 roentgen at the Arzamas-16 nuclear research centre about 350 km east of Moscow. He was conducting a weapons test earlier this week involving a controlled nuclear chain reaction at the time of the accident.

Doctors said Zakharov was the first Russian to suffer serious injury in a nuclear accident since the Soviet atomic power plant in Chornobyl in Ukraine blew up in April 1986.

Decontamination works are under way at the Arzamas workshop. The room where the accident happened had been sealed off. No other injuries were reported.