An emergency at a military training ground in the Arkhangelsk region, where an explosion occurred on August 8 during tests of a liquid propulsion system did not require the evacuation of the population. This was stated by the former head of Rospotrebnadzor, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Onishchenko.
According to him, after the emergency, “comprehensive measures appropriate to the situation were taken.” The reason for the short-term increase in the radiation background in Severodvinsk, according to Onishchenko, was “shorties – short-lived elements,” whose half-lives are estimated in minutes and hours. Their volume was insignificant, and there was no need for evacuating the population for any reason, he stressed.
According to Onishchenko, the change in the radiation background was recorded by instruments, radiologists of the Rospotrebnadzor and regional authorities received comprehensive information about the structure of the emergency release within the framework of the existing regulation. After the emergency, specialists from the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Radiation Hygiene of Rospotrebnadzor were involved, the academician said, adding: “If the cause of the increase were long-lived radioactive elements, another scheme for ensuring public safety would be involved.”
Authorities notified residents of a short-term increase in radiation background in Severodvinsk, Onishchenko recalled. Moreover, “short-lived elements almost immediately disintegrated, which led to the normalization of the background to a natural level.”
Gennady Onishchenko took part in the liquidation of the Chernobyl accident and worked out measures to ensure radiation safety in the Far East after the accident at the Japanese Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, recalls “Interfax” . It was he who, as head of the Rospotrebnadzor in 2009, approved the radiation safety standards currently in force in Russia.
Earlier, Rosatom confirmed that five employees of the corporation were killed while working at a training ground near Arkhangelsk. Three more received injuries and burns of varying severity. According to the company, the tragedy occurred during the engineering and technical support of isotopic power sources in a liquid propulsion system.