Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Catches Fire During Repairs

It looks like there might have been another accident involving one of Russia’s aging submarine fleet. Multiple media sources are reporting that a Russian law enforcement source has confirmed that a 949 Antei Russian nuclear submarine that was was under repair in the Zvyozdochka shipyard has caught fire.

The Zvyozdochka shipyard said it was not prepared to comment on the report yet. The Russian Emergencies Ministry also had no comment. There was no word on casualties.

The Zvyozdochka shipyard is located in the northern province of Arkhangelsk, and is a major base for the Russian Navy and sub fleet.

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More on Russian nuclear submarine fire

The Russian news agency Interfax quoted another source as saying there were no nuclear weapons on board the craft. Other reports claimed the fire had started during welding repairs, causing insulation materials to ignite.

The TASS news agency cited a source reporting the sub’s nuclear reactor had been shut down before the repairs began.

Russian military buildup includes submarines

The Russian military began a major rebuilding program back in 2012, and the program remains in high gear despite the economic problems Russia is facing today. Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly announced that defense expenditures are off limits for budget cuts, and that additional funds will continue to be earmarked for future military research and development efforts.

Revamping and upgrading the submarine fleet has been a key part of the recent rebuilding of Russia’s navy.

Military experts note that four different types of submarines are now under construction in Russia and more are under development. Russian naval shipyards will lay down five new nuclear submarines in 2015.

Of note, the Riussian navy is now receiving Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, Yasen-class nuclear attack submarines, and Kilo- and Lada-class diesel electric attack submarines. A number of Kilo subs are being built for Vietnam and other countries.