Russian doctors who helped victims of explosion near Severodvinsk not warned about radiation

One of the doctors of the Arkhangelsk regional hospital who helped the victims of the explosion at a secret military facility in the village of Nyonaksa had radioactive cesium-137 found in his body, The Moscow Times reports.

When the victims of the explosion were taken to the hospital at a secret military facility, the doctors were not warned that the tragic accident had been related to radiation. “The point is that there was radioactive dust. No one warned people about the infection in the first place. Everyone who was there at the time was rescuing the victims. Doctors from other units came to help with advice,” a source at the Arkhangelsk hospital told the Severnyie Novosti news agency.

“According to our colleagues, when the victims were brought to Nenoksa, the doctors were not warned that they were contaminated. Only after a while were they given lead aprons, but that was no longer the protection they needed. People are worried,” one of the doctors said.

A Severnyie Novosti source claims that about 50 medical personnel from Arkhangelsk were sent to Moscow for examination. According to The Moscow Times, at least one of the doctors had radioactive caesium-137 found in his body. Caesium-137 is released into the environment mainly as a result of nuclear tests and accidents at nuclear power plants.

According to journalists, all the doctors who have been in contact with the victims of the explosion had signed a nodisclosure document — this was insisted on by the FSB.

“They were not forced to sign, but when three FSB agents come with a paper and ask you to sign, few people will say no,” he quotes one of the doctors at The Moscow Times.

The explosion at a secret military facility in the village of Nenoksa, 40 km from Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, occurred on August 8. The Russian Defense Ministry reported two dead. After the incident, the press service of the Severodvinsk administration announced a “short-term increase in the background radiation. Due to the increase in the radiation background in Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, local residents bought all the iodine they could. Roshydromet said that on August 8 in Severodvinsk the dose rate of gamma radiation was 4-16 times higher than the background value.
Later it became known that the explosion killed five employees of the state corporation Rosatom. Three others received injuries and burns of various degrees of severity. The corporation noted that the incident occurred “during the testing of the liquid propulsion system” during the period “related to the engineering and technical support of isotope power supplies on the liquid propulsion system”.
Experts question the official version of the explosion at a secret military facility in the village of Nenoksa. They note that the explosion of the liquid propulsion system could not result in radiation exposure. Experts suspect that the explosion and subsequent radiation release were the result of an accident that took place during the testing of a cruise missile with a nuclear part. This is probably a 9M730 Thunderbird missile (NATO designates it as the SSC-X-9 Skyfall).

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