(Reuters) – A fire broke out on an atomic-powered submarine undergoing repairs at a shipyard near Russia’s eastern coastal city of Vladivostok on Monday, but naval officials said there was no risk of a radiation leak, Russian news agencies reported.
The submarine Tomsk, which is powered by a nuclear reactor, caught fire while being repaired at a floating dock at the Zvezda shipyard in Bolshoi Kamen, about 25 km (15 miles) across a bay from Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan, the reports said.
The reactor had been shut down before it arrived at the dock for repairs, the crew has been evacuated and there are no weapons on board, state-run RIA cited an unidentified official in Russia’s Pacific Fleet as saying.
"There is no threat of radioactive contamination," Itar-Tass, also state-run, cited an unidentified official in Russia’s Pacific Fleet command as saying.
"The weapons have been removed from the submarine. The situation is completely under control. There is no threat to residents of the city," Itar-Tass quoted the official as saying.
Navy sources said that in addition to two firefighting vessels, a ship that monitors radiation levels had been sent to the area as a precaution, Russian news agencies reported.
The fire broke out in a ballast area of the submarine after a gas-powered saw was used to cut through a grate, setting an old rubber covering, cables and paint on fire, RIA cited an unnamed official at the shipyard as saying.
The official said there was little danger of an explosion because the cistern is outside the sealed body of the submarine where the reactor is located.
The Tomsk is outfitted to carry 24 guided missiles, according to Itar-Tass.
A fire that engulfed an atomic-powered submarine in northwestern Russia in 2011 caused no casualties, but a report later cited sources as saying nuclear missiles had been on board during the blaze, contradicting official statements.