Radiation briefly spikes in Russian city after rocket engine explosion

The report said six people were injured in the incident. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 August 2019

Radiation briefly spikes in Russian city after rocket engine explosion

  • Radiation levels are back to normal after the explosion
  • The explosion involved a liquid-propellant rocket engine

MOSCOW: A short-term spike in radiation levels was recorded in a northern Russian city after a rocket engine exploded at a military testing site on Thursday, TASS news agency cited a spokeswoman for city authorities in Severodvinsk as saying.
The explosion of a liquid-propellant rocket engine killed two people on Thursday in Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk region, but released no dangerous substances into the atmosphere, RIA news agency had earlier cited the Defense Ministry as saying.
The ministry was quoted as saying that radiation was at normal levels. It said six people were injured.
“A short-term rise in background radiation was recorded at 12 o’clock in Severodvinsk,” Ksenia Yudina, a spokeswoman for the city authorities, was quoted as saying.
City officials said background radiation levels had fully “normalized.” The population of Severodvinsk was 185,000 at the beginning of 2017, according to officials.
The rocket engine explosion occurred at a weapons testing area near the village of Nyonoksa in Arkhangelsk region, the Interfax news agency cited unnamed security sources as saying.
Russian media said an area near Nyonoksa is used for tests on weapons including ballistic and cruise missiles that are used by the Russian navy.
“No harmful substances were emitted into the atmosphere, the background radiation is normal,” the defense ministry was quoted as saying.


Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

Updated 37 min 11 sec ago

Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

  • Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts
  • Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday she had been asked by President Joko Widodo to stay on in her post as his new cabinet takes shape for a second five-year term in office.

Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts, including his presidential election rival Prabowo Subianto, who looks set to be defense minister.

The candidates — all wearing white shirts — have come to the presidential palace to be interviewed by Widodo, with most declining to confirm the positions offered ahead of an official announcement expected on Wednesday.

After meeting Widodo, Indrawati said she had agreed to stay on as finance minister and to ensure policies supported the president’s priorities such as improving human resources, creating jobs and executing government budgets well.

“Indonesia I think is facing a very dynamic and uncertain global economy and an economic slowdown that is pressuring the whole world,” Indrawati said.

“Therefore, a continued policy is needed in order to be able to guard our economy from the challenge of this global slowdown,” she said, noting she also discussed ways to narrow Indonesia’s current account and trade deficits.

Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016, spearheading tax reform efforts, seeking to capitalize on a tax amnesty program in 2016-2017. She is now one of the longest serving finance ministers in Indonesia, having also held the post in the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Sri Mulyani is seen as a key architect behind the fiscal discipline in recent years and many wish for her continued leadership in driving deeper fiscal reforms,” Bank of America wrote in a note.

The make-up of the cabinet is being closely watched to see how many technocrats — who are more likely to fall in with Widodo’s plans for boosting growth and investment — were included.

Other ministerial candidates who came to the palace on Tuesday included Basuki Hadimuljono, who is credited with driving infrastructure projects as public works minister in Widodo’s first term, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister in the first term.

On Monday, Nadiem Makarim, the chief executive of tech startup Gojek and media tycoon Erick Thohir, a former chairman of Italian soccer club Inter Milan, were among those confirming they had been asked to join the cabinet.

Speaking to media ahead of his inauguration on Sunday, Widodo said around 16 ministers in the new cabinet would come from political parties out of an anticipated 34 posts.