Two dead in fire aboard nuclear icebreaker

Two crew members were killed and one other wounded when a fire broke out on the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker “Vaygach” this morning.


The icebreaker was escorting vessels north of Siberia when the fire broke out. There are no indications of radioactive leakage after the accident.

The fire broke out early this morning east of the Kara Gate, while “Vaigach” was on its way from Dudinka to Murmansk. The fire was probably a result of a short-circuit in one of the living compartments, Komsomolskaya Pravda reports, citing Rosatomflot, the operator of the nuclear icebreaker fleet.

It took the crew more than two hours to get control over the fire, which destroyed three living compartments. The vessel’s sailing performance was not damaged in the fire and the fire never reached the reactor compartment.

To crew members were killed in the accident while one other was seriously wounded and has been evacuated by helicopter to the mainland.

Vaigach” was operating in the Gulf of Finland last winter, as BarentsObserver reported.

In May 2011 there was another accident with a nuclear icebreaker in the same area, when “Taimyr” had  leakages of cooling water from the reactor and had to be escorted out of the ice-covered Kara Sea.

Taimyr” and “Vaigach” are of the same class, river icebreakers with one reactor each. Both icebreakers are built in Finland.