A senior Russian official said the country did not need to provide international observers with data on a recent nuclear explosion that would increase radiation levels in a northern region of the country.
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The International Monitor on Comprehensive Nuclear Testing – The Ban Treaty Organization reported on Monday that after the accident in a military testing facility on August 8, several radiation detection sites in Russia fell silent. The CTBTO monitors radiation around the world to ensure compliance with the contract.
Four stations were destroyed in the days following the explosion of a suspected nuclear-powered cruise missile. On August 1
"You have reported communication and network issues and we are waiting for more reports as to when the stations and / or the communication system will be fully operational again," a CTBTO spokesman told ABC News on Monday. "We continue to connect with our employees in Russia to resume operations as soon as possible."
The organization's executive director, Lassina Zerbo, a Burkina Faso scientist, tweeted on Tuesday that two of the stations have resumed data sharing and added some information.
"Excellent cooperation and support from our Russian station operators," he added.
Russia has provided few details about the explosion, except for the confirmation that five employees were killed. A US official told ABC News that it "probably" took place during a test with the new nuclear missile known as NATO's SSX-C-9 "Skyfall" and Burevestnik or "Storm Petrel" 9M370. from Russia.
Immediately after the explosion, there was a radiation increase in cities near the Nenoksa missile test site on the northern Arctic coast of Russia. The Russian authorities initially denied any spike until the state weather service Roshydromet confirmed three days later that the radiation exposure was up to 16 times higher than the norm. The environmental group Greenpeace had their own readings, which showed a similar increase, but said it was short.
However, these readings came from cities that were miles from the test site. It is feared that the radiation levels blocked for the explosion will not be known, even in the village next to the explosion or by radioactive deposits of the rocket, which could have run away from the proving ground.
The CTBTO observers may assist in determining these values for transmission failure.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday that the accident was not a matter for the organization.
"The transfer of data from our national stations, which are part of the international surveillance system, is completely voluntary for every country", according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
A CTBTO spokesman rightly told ABC News Ryabkov that the exchange of data was "non-binding", partly because the contract could only be fully implemented once all countries with nuclear technology had ratified it. The holdouts are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA.
Instead, Ryabkov said "Detailed explanations of what happened and what consequences the relevant structures drew" and there was no threat to the environment or the local people.
The State Department did not respond to the call for comment. However, analysts in the US expressed concern over the lack of information.
"Russia sets a terrible precedent: it's not just about hiding a failure or a new weapon, this information is for the safety of the world," said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network and director of the Datayo project at the One Earth Future Foundation.
Kirit Radia, Patrick Reevell and Luis Martinez of ABC News contributed to this report.