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No radiation threat from N-sub fire

A massive fire engulfed a Russian nuclear submarine in an Arctic shipyard, but there has been no radiation leak or injuries, officials said.

The fire on the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine occurred while it was in dock for repairs at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region, said Irina Gretskaya, a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry's branch in the area.

"No-one has been hurt and there has been no radiation leak," she said.

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that all weapons had been unloaded from the sub and its reactor had been shut down before the repairs.

He said the fire had started on the wooden scaffolding and then engulfed the submarine's outer hull. Most modern submarines' outer hulls are covered with rubber to make them less noisy and more difficult for an enemy to detect.

He said the fire had now been contained, and there was no danger of it spreading inside.

The Yekaterinburg is a Delta-IV-class nuclear-powered submarine which normally carries 16 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was built in 1984.

Russian television stations showed footage from the scene, with flames reaching far into the night skies over the massive dock. Plumes of smoke engulfed the area.

The fire sparked radiation fears and talk of the possible evacuation of local residents, but officials insisted that it posed no danger. A dozen firefighting crews and a fire boat were fighting the flames.

Military prosecutors have launched an investigation into the causes of the fire.

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