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Fire on Nuclear Sub Injured 15, Investigators Say

Fifteen seamen were in the hospital Tuesday after a fire on a nuclear submarine in the Far East, federal investigators said, contradicting earlier reports that nobody was hurt in Monday's blaze.

The fire started during welding works on the navy submarine named Tomsk, which was being repaired at the giant Zvezda shipyard near Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan, military officials said.

The fire was extinguished after about five hours, the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation, which operates the shipyard, said in a statement Monday. It said there were no injuries.

In a report to President Vladimir Putin later on Monday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made no mention of injuries.

But the federal Investigative Committee said in a statement Tuesday that the fire had "caused damage to the health of 15 servicemen" and they remained in the hospital. It gave no details about their condition.

The Investigative Committee said it was conducting a criminal investigation into the fire, which is  usual procedure in Russia after such an incident.

Shoigu told Putin that the missiles the submarines usually carried had been removed in 2009 before the repairs began, and officials said that the atomic reactors that power the submarine had been shut off and that there was no radiation leak.

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