A small nuclear reactor was involved in the failed missile test last week that ended in an explosion killing five scientists, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

The institute they worked for is developing small-scale power sources that use “radioactive materials, including fissile and radioisotope materials” for the Defense Ministry and civilian uses, Vyacheslav Soloviev, scientific director of the institute, said on local TV, according to the news outlet.


The scientists were national heroes and the “elite of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center,” institute Director Valentin Kostyukov said in the video obtained by Bloomberg.

The blast, which occurred Aug. 8, caused a brief spike in radiation in the nearby port city of Severodvinsk, according to a now-deleted statement on the local administration’s website reviewed by Bloomberg.

Russian media have speculated that the test involved the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, known in Russia as the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile.

President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinNATO’s China problem GOP group targets McConnell over election security bills in new ad George Soros’s secret 2016 access to State exposes ‘big money’ hypocrisy of Democrats MORE introduced the weapon during his state-of-the-nation address last year.

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