Fire strikes a nuclear-powered Russian Cargo ship

Sevmorput Icebreaker

27th December 2023

A fire broke out on the nuclear-powered ship Nuclear-Sevmorput at the northern Russian port of Murmansk. Sparking concerns about potential nuclear hazards. However, swift action by Russian firefighters successfully extinguished the flames, and authorities assure the public that there is no threat of a nuclear incident.

The Soviet-built Sevmorput ship, which is presently docked in the northern Russian city of Murmansk, had a fire on Sunday in one of its staterooms. The Nuclear-Sevmorput, a crucial part of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the incident.

Around 30 sqm area was impacted by the vessel, according to regional branch of Russia’s emergency ministry said in a statement.

Russian state officials, including the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, moved swiftly to address the situation. Emergency response teams, including specialized nuclear incident units, were deployed to the scene within minutes.

The fire on the Nuclear-Sevmorput was promptly brought under control and fully extinguished by highly trained firefighting teams. There is no indication of a breach in the nuclear compartment, and radiation levels in the vicinity are within normal limits.

Atomflot, issued a statement saying that the fire was promptly put out. There were no injuries. There was no threat to crucial support systems or to the reactor plant, Atomflot stated.

Sevmorput Icebreaker

The prompt response of the emergency teams helped prevent the escalation of the incident, and authorities are now focused on investigating the cause of the fire. Preliminary findings suggest that the fire may have originated from an electrical malfunction in one of the ship’s auxiliary systems.

The Nuclear-Sevmorput is a nuclear-powered icebreaker and cargo ship that plays a crucial role in maintaining year-round navigation in the Arctic region. It is equipped with two reactors but has a strong safety record, having operated without major incidents for several years.

Rosatom, the agency responsible for Russia’s nuclear program, released a statement emphasizing that the incident posed no threat to the environment or public health. All necessary safety measures were promptly implemented, and there is no release of radioactive materials.

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However, concerns about the safety of nuclear-powered vessels have been raised in the wake of this incident, particularly in light of the potential environmental consequences in the Arctic region.

Environmental groups are calling for a thorough and transparent investigation into the cause of the fire, highlighting the risks associated with nuclear-powered vessels in ecologically sensitive areas. Greenpeace, in a statement, urged Russian authorities to review safety protocols and enhance measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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