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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet-Era Nuclear Waste Ship Sinks

ST. PETERSBURG — A ship once used to transport nuclear waste sank last month at a shipyard in northern Russia, the yard's senior engineer said Tuesday.

He added that there was no danger of radioactive contamination because it was not carrying nuclear waste at the time.

"We were scrapping it and cutting the ship, but the metal gave in and it sank," said Vladimir Smirnov, an engineer at the Navy's SRZ-10 plant in Polyarny, a town on the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia.

"It was all clean. All the radioactive waste was unloaded long ago. There is no danger whatsoever," he said, adding that tests of seawater showed that there had been no contamination after the incident May 24.

The ship, named Severka, was used to transport nuclear waste from 1978 to 1993 and then taken to Polyarny, where the military has a yard for repairing warships including nuclear submarines. The town is closed to the general public and foreigners.