RUSSIA is to finally evacuate homes neighbouring the mysterious ‘radiation explosion’ which killed five atomic scientists and engineers – six days after the blast happened.
A pre-dawn train will tomorrow morning remove all Nyonoksa residents while work is undertaken at the missile site testing ground where the tragedy happened.
The news comes as it was confirmed radiation levels were up to 16 TIMES above the norm in the village which has a population of 500.
The delayed evacuation has chilling echos of the Chernobyl disaster when Communist Party officials tried to play down the immediate threat of the huge nuclear power plant blast.
After telling residents nothing about the disaster for two days, Soviet officials finally begin evacuating roughly 115,000 people from nearby Pripyat, in the Ukraine.
However, by then the damage was done and it is estimated between 93,000 and 200,000 people died as a result of radiation poisoning.
Those living in and around Nyonoksa have also reportedly been kept in the dark about last week's shocking explosion.
News of Wednesday's evacuation comes as ten medics who provided treatment for those wounded in the explosion were reported to have been sent to Moscow for urgent medical checks.
The frontline doctors were reported to be “depressed as to why they were not told what they were dealing with” in the aftermath of the weapons test.
The medics were not informed that they needed special anti-radiation suits.
One surgeon's clothing was checked after an operation using a radiation measuring device – and found to be seriously contaminated.
They have been sent to Burnazyan Federal Medical and Biophysical Centre which specialises in conditions caused by radiation, and where wounded scientists from the incident are also being treated.
Russia has denied the evacuation is linked to the last week’s explosion which was on a vessel off the testing zone, and claims it was pre-planned.
But one local said: “Every month we are taken away from the village.
“In the past some people stayed for the duration of these army works, but this time I believe we are all going to leave.”
Locals who include workers at the testing site have been told the mass evacuation will last one day.
Russia’s weather monitoring service, said its sensors in Severodvinsk, 20 miles from the Nyonoksa test site, registered gamma radiation exceeding background levels by "four to 16 times”.
Rosgidromet said the levels were higher at six out of eight of its stations in Severodvinsk and that levels returned to normal after two and a half hours.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to confirm that the accident was linked to the Burevestnik missile.
But he told reporters that Russian research and development in the sphere of nuclear-powered missiles "significantly surpass the level reached by other countries and are rather unique.”
Last Monday a massive fire erupted at a military ammunition depot near Achinsk in eastern Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region.
The blaze triggered a number of explosions that continued for around 16 hours, leaving one person dead and injuring 13 more while more than 16,500 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
Earlier this year 14 people were killed during a fire on a Russian submarine which was a nuclear spy vessel thought to be on a secret mission.
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