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Residents Near Secretive Russian Arctic Missile Test Site to Be Evacuated Ahead of ‘Military Work’

Defense Ministry

Local residents of Nenoksa village on the coast of the White Sea in Russia’s Far North will be given the opportunity to evacuate their homes on Tuesday ahead of planned work at the military missile site where a deadly nuclear accident occured last summer.

On Sunday, a message appeared on the local administration’s website posted saying that from 6 am on July 7 to 6 pm on July 8, Nenoksa will fall into "the danger zone" as the first scientific center of military unit 09703 will be conducting unspecified work. Officials also issued a warning to ships traveling through the White Sea. Authorities will provide residents of Nenoksa with five buses that will leave the village at 5 am on Tuesday.

In August last year, an explosion near the Nyonoksa testing site during a rocket engine test killed five Russian nuclear workers and led to a radiation spike.

The Moscow Times reported that the doctors who treated victims of the nuclear rocket explosion were nuclear accident victims, leading to one of them being contaminated with radioactive cesium-137.

The secrecy surrounding the accident has led outside observers to speculate that the explosion involved the Burevestnik nuclear-powered intercontinental cruise missile, dubbed the SSC-X-9 Skyfall by NATO. 

Last month, authorities in Norway, Sweden and Finland said they had detected small increases in levels of radioactivity. A Dutch research center said that the source may have been western Russia and may "indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant."

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