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The Russian authorities did not say if the vessel was powered by a nuclear reactor, which could raise fears of radiation leaks.

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But some Russian media, citing military sources, said the stricken vessel was a nuclear-powered submarine. On Tuesday evening, an official with the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Norway said the agency had taken radiation measurements after the incident but detected nothing unusual, Reuters reported. The lethal fire broke out on a vessel based in the Arctic port Severomorsk. The Kursk nuclear submarine that sank in , killing sailors in a searing tragedy for the Russian Navy that posed an early test of President Vladimir V.

The military announced the latest fire and casualties on Tuesday, but said the accident happened a day earlier. It said the sailors had died from smoke inhalation.

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The statement offered no explanation for the delayed announcement. It was not clear if the vessel was submerged at the time of the fire, and the military did not specify its location, other than to say it had been within Russian territorial waters.

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But some Russian media indicated that the vessel was a spy submarine. In a possible indication of the importance of the vessel or its mission, Mr. Experts have said previously, according to The Barents Observer, that there was little chance of food-chain contamination, given the limited marine-life presence at the depth the wreckage is.

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The massive foot-long Komsomolets was launched in at Severodvinsk, Russia, where it became operational a year later. The Soviet submarine, which was expected to be the first of a new class of large attack submarines, had the ability to operate at depths below 3, feet, making it one of the world's deepest diving subs, according to the CIA. The vessel, attached to the Soviet Northern Fleet, sank on April 7, , about miles southwest of Bear Island, Norway, after a fire broke out in the engine room.

Forty-two of the 69 were killed, most from exposure resulting from the slow reaction of the Soviet navy to rescue the stranded crew.

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News of a possible radiation leak from the Komsomolets came a little over a week after 14 Russian sailors died because of a fire aboard a secret submarine believed to be the Losharik, a top-secret deep-diving nuclear submarine suspected to have been designed to gather intelligence, tamper with undersea cables and pipelines, and possibly install or destroy defensive sonar arrays. Norwegian researchers have been monitoring the aftermath of the deadly event for signs of radioactive contamination. Read more: Dead sailors stopped a 'planetary catastrophe' aboard a secret submarine, a top Russian naval officer said at their funeral.

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Battle of May Island

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