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Project 10831 / 01210 Losharik - Casualty 02 July 2019

At least 14 sailors aboard the Russian submarine died 02 July 2019 in a fire due to smoke inhalation. Four of them posthumously received the title of Hero of Russia, the remaining 10 - Order of Courage. The Defence Ministry stated that the blaze had erupted while the deep-sea military submersible, designed to research the bottom of the sea, was running biometric tests in Russian territorial waters. "Thanks to the selfless actions of the team, the fire was put out", the ministry said in a statement. The Russian Investigative Committee said it had launched an investigation into the deadly fire.

On July 3, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was questioned by journalists eager for details. Technical details of the submarine would remain secret due to the sensitive nature of military operations, he said. Naturally, such information cannot go into full circulation publicly, he said. It relates to a category of totally secret data, so it's normal for us not to reveal it. Asked if such information will be released at a later date, Peskov said: Of course not. Nor did he disclose whether the submarine carried a nuclear reactor, a source of contention amid concerns of a radioactive fallout from the accident. We do not deal with the construction of ships, Peskov said of Putins administration. Thats [a question] for the Defense Ministry.

Among the causes of the disaster, the media cited the explosion and ignition of a lithium battery. The deep-sea vehicle was initially towed to a base at Yagelnaya Guba [Bay], Gadzhiyevo (Gadzhiyevo was called Skalisty ZATO [closed administrative-territorial unit] at various times). Then it was placed in Severomorsk, which is the main administrative base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

President Vladimir Putin dispatched Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Severomorsk, the Russian naval base on the Barents Sea where the submarine is now located, to find out what caused the incident and report back to him. Shoigu told Putin that the fire had erupted in the submarine's battery compartment. Shoigu confirmed that there were survivors, but did not specify how many. Anonymously sourced reports suggested four to five crew members survived the fire.

In a meeting with Putin, Sergei Shoigu said: "....the crew has taken the necessary measures to save the unit, which is in working order. This means we can repair the submersible quickly." Vladimir Putin: "Completely?" Sergei Shoigu: "Yes, completely." The Minister of Defense emphasized hope for "a fairly short time to restore the apparatus." The first assessment is that repair is possible. In this case, its not just possible, but obligatory, said Shoigu, adding that the time frame within which this work can be completed is now estimated.

During funerals for the personnel who died, one Russian naval officer made comments that suggested the incident posed a far greater danger than the Defense Ministry had indicated, saying that the crew of the vessel -- which authorities eventually revealed had a nuclear reactor on board -- had "averted a planetary-scale catastrophe."

The restoration of the AS-31 submarine (Losharik) damaged as a result of a fire in the Barents Sea on July 1 will begin in the fall at the Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center (Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Region). This was announced on 14 August 2019 by TASS a source in the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation. This fall, Losharik will be towed for repairs to Zvezdochka, the agencys interlocutor said. He specified that at the first stage, water will be pumped out of the device and the titanium case and internal premises will be defective, after which a technical project will be drawn up for repair work and recovery. "

Specialists of the Central Design Bureau of marine equipment Rubin (developer of a part of the equipment) and Sevmash (manufacturer of the device) will be involved in the repair. According to preliminary estimates, the systems of the deep-sea vehicle suffered significant damage. "We can say that the fire is seriously damaged and radio-electronic equipment, automation, acoustic and navigation equipment, life support systems are to be replaced," he said. It is not yet clear how much the titanium case of the station was damaged. New titanium parts of the hull will be manufactured at Sevmash to replace those damaged by fire.

In late November 2019 specialists of the Zvezdochka ship repair center prepared for the unloading of nuclear fuel a burnt out nuclear submarine AS-31 Losharik. "Work on the Zvezdochka began with the AS-31. Now preparations are underway for unloading the active zone of the submarines nuclear reactor, which was not damaged by fire. They can begin to recover the zone before the end of December," one TASS interlocutors said. As the second source noted, "after the unloading of the reactor zone, a defect in the titanium case and the interior of the deep-sea apparatus will begin, which will determine the scope and terms of repair."

Work on the restoration of the damaged AS-31 nuclear submarine manned ship damaged on July 1, 2019 (unofficial name "Losharik") was postponed to 2021. About this TASS reported two sources 25 June 2020. "This year, the operation to unload the reactor core on the Losharik special submarine will not be carried out, it switched to 2021. The old AS-15 apparatus is the first in line for such an operation at the Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center (CS)," said one of the sources. The second source confirmed this information, noting that "the AC-31 is not the first in the queue for unloading the core and subsequent repairs."



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