A fire broke out aboard a Russian nuclear submarine, killing two crew members, but the navy said there was no radiation threat, Russian news agencies reported Thursday.
The fire occurred on the Daniil Moskovsky submarine of the Northern Fleet, which plies Russia's northern and Arctic waters, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. It erupted Wednesday night in a mechanical room and was put out by around midnight, the Interfax news agency reported, citing the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet.
The fire was caused by a short-circuit in the nose section, ITAR-Tass reported. The ship's nuclear reactor was shut down automatically, it said.
"There is no threat of nuclear contamination," Interfax quoted an unnamed Fleet spokesman as saying.
A warrant officer and a sailor were killed, Interfax reported.
The K-414 (Shchuka or Victor-1) class vessel was being towed along the surface of the water to its base at Vidyayevo, the agencies reported. An investigation has been opened on charges of violation of navigation rules, ITAR-Tass said.
No one could be reached immediately at Russian naval headquarters or the Northern Fleet for confirmation.
The Northern Fleet has suffered a series of tragic accidents on its submarines in recent years. The Navy suffered its worst post-Soviet disaster when the Kursk nuclear submarine exploded and sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, killing its entire crew of 118. In August 2003, nine members of a 10-man crew died when their submarine sank in gale-force winds in the Barents as it was being towed to a scrapyard.
ITAR-Tass said that the Daniil Moskovsky has a crew of 96, and that is it armed with PK-55 Granat cruise missiles, Shkval and Vodopad torpedoes.