N-sub project won't suffer: Defence ministry

  • HT Correspondent HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2014 01:33 IST

The defence ministry on Sunday said the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine programme would not suffer due to the accident related to an under-construction boat at the ship building centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

One civilian worker was killed and another two injured during tests related to the construction of a second Arihant-class nuclear submarine, to be named INS Aridaman.

The ministry said the accident occurred when its industrial partner, engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was preparing for a hydro-pressure test of a tank inside a building at the SBC.

Work related to the pressure system has been suspended till a probe pinpoints the cause of the mishap.

The mishap is the 13th accident involving a naval platform in less than seven months.

A naval officer was killed and two shipyard workers were injured on March 7 in an accident involving the force's newest stealth destroyer, INS Kolkata, which was being tested at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

A ministry spokesperson said Saturday's accident was in no way related with any nuclear activity. "The submarines are safe and the accident does not adversely affect the project," he said.

Admiral DK Joshi had resigned as navy chief on February 26, the day two naval officers were killed and seven sailors injured in an accident on-board INS Sindhuratna. The navy hit a rough patch last August when the INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank last August killing 18 personnel.

On August 10, 2013, India took a major leap towards completing its nuclear triad – the ability to launch strategic weapons from land, air and sea, with the miniature reactor on board INS Arihant "attaining criticality."

The 6,000-tonne Arihant, the country's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, is expected to kick off deterrent patrols, armed with nuclear warheads, later this year. The United States, Russia, the UK, France and China are the only countries that can deliver nuclear warheads from a submarine.

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