A docked Russian nuclear submarine caught fire during repairs in the northern province of Arkhangelsk Tuesday.
The submarine, a 500-foot-long K-266 Oryol, was docked at the Zvezdochka shipyard and began to burn when welding scorched the insulation between the vessel’s inner and outer hulls. It was reportedly not bearing any nuclear weapons.
Tuesday’s fire was apparently the result of “a violation of safety procedure” while its missile systems were being upgraded.
A similar Russian submarine caught fire in December 2011 while its nuclear reactor’s fuel was on board, nearly leading to a meltdown. Some speculate that the submarine was carrying missiles, though the Russian government denied it at the time.
That fire was caused when sparks flying from welding on a nearby scaffold fell onto rubber coating on the submarine’s hull, while some crew members were aboard the vessel. Authorities ultimately quenched the fire by submerging the submarine.
The Russian military has been in the news recently for conducting unexpected exercises in airspace near Western countries’ territory, including the U.K., Sweden and even American territory in Alaska.
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