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Soviet-Era Nuclear Submarine Catches Fire During Disassembly

Russia’s Defense Ministry says a decommissioned Soviet-era nuclear submarine that was being disassembled in Russia’s Far East has caught fire.

The ministry announced the blaze on April 29, saying that the Krasnoyarsk Project 949 submarine was being disassembled in Vilyuchinsk in the territory of Kamchatka when its rubber-coated outer hull caught fire.

Valery Kosykh, head of environmental monitoring at Russia’s Federal Information and Analysis Center, told Interfax on April 29 that specialists “have not recorded any changes” in background radiation levels in Vilyuchinsk.

The Krasnoyarsk submarine, an Oscar-I class nuclear-powered submarine, was built in 1983 and launched in 1986 as part of the Soviet Union’s Pacific Fleet.

It was predecessor to the Soviet Union’s Oscar II class nuclear submarines like the Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea in August 2000 about 100 miles from the Russian port of Murmansk.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS and BBC