The ministry of defence (MoD) on Sunday allayed fears on the future of the nuclear submarine project at the naval Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam after the 'accident' on Saturday in which a civilian worker was killed.
Scientific adviser to MoD and DRDO chief Avinash Chander told reporters that it was an industrial accident and an inquiry had been ordered
The ministry said that the incident was not connected with any nuclear-related activity and would not adversely affect the project or the work of the navy. No defence personnel were involved in the accident. "The accident is in no way (connected) with any nuclear-related activity. The submarines are safe and the accident does not adversely affect the project activities or the activities of Indian Navy or DRDO," the defence ministry said in a statement.
The Hyderabad Defence Research and Development Organisation, the apex body for all defence research and development activity, has been asked to probe into the mishap in which two other civilian workers were injured. The accident occurred when the L&T, an industrial partner, was undertaking preparatory activities for hydro pressure testing of a submarine tank at the Ship Building Centre.
According to a senior research officer at DRDO, the accident occurred when one of the doors of a tank gave away where the pressure was being tested. The contract worker who was close by was killed instantly. At around 2.30pm, some contract workers went to monitor the pressure gauge to determine the maximum pressure the hull could withstand. A heavy and huge iron sheet fell on them, killing one of them on the spot and seriously injuring others, said a DRDO source.
The recent accidents at both Mumbai and Visakhapatnam have brought to fore the safety and security of naval assets because of several mishaps involving submarines and vessels. Before the tragedy in Visakhapatnam, another accident in Mumbai resulted in the death of a Navy commander in a gas leak on an under-construction warship.