MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. The August 8 accident at a military test site near Severodvinsk had nothing to do with nuclear tests, Russia’s acting Permanent Representative to Vienna-based international organizations Alexey Karpov said on Monday.
"The tragic accident had nothing to do with nuclear tests and does not fall under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)," he said at a session of the working group on examination and verification issues of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
"All I can say to those especially curious that the tests conducted at the military site near Severodvinsk on August 8 were linked with weapons we were forced to begin to develop as a response measure after the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002," he said.
He stressed that the August 8 accident posed no threat to public health. "According to the Russian emergencies ministry’s Arkhangelsk region department, radiation in that area is within background levels," he said. "Radiation levels peaked on the accident day on August 8 at 1.78 microsieverts per hour, or about the same level as during dental X-raying. So, despite media allegations, any environmental disasters in the accident area are out of the question."
The Russian diplomat drew attention to the fact that Washington was apparently seeking not to ratify the CTBT treaty but demanded other nations stayed committed to its provisions. "We see obviously wrong arguments why the treaty has not yet come into effect and its control mechanism is still working in the testing mode," Karpov added.
The accident at a military test site near Severodvinsk, in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk Region, occurred on August 8. The Russian defense ministry said back then that two people had died in the accident but gave no further details. However Rosatom, a Russian state-run atomic energy corporation, said on August 10 that five of its employees had died in a fire and a subsequent explosion during engineering works at isotope energy sources of a liquid propellant jet engine. Three more employees had been taken to the hospital.
The Russian defense ministry pledged there had been "no hazardous emissions in the atmosphere and the radiation levels are within the norm."
Russia’s hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring service said earlier on Monday that the radiation situation in the region was stable.