When an experimental missile exploded at a secret Russian base, things were immediately odd. Children from the nearby city of Severodvinsk were sent home from school. Its 185,000 residents were told to stay indoors. Doses of Iodine were distributed. All shipping was barred from the area for at least 30 days.
What could cause such a reaction?
How could a relatively small explosion cause such confusion?
Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom eventually stepped forward: It explained that a missile testing an “isotope power source for a liquid-fuelled rocket engine” had misfired.
Rosatom conceded the accident on Thursday night had killed five, and three were being treated for burns.
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