Vladivostok, Nov 18 (RIA Novosti) The Russian Navy will commission the Nerpa nuclear submarine, which was involved in a fire accident killing 20 people on board recently, rather than sell or lease it to India, the chief of the General Staff told a Russian daily Tuesday.
On Nov 8, while the submarine was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan, a crew member is believed to have entered the wrong data into the temperature sensor, which caused the fire safety system to release Freon gas into the living quarters killing 20 sailors.
Rossiiskaya Gazeta newsapaper quoted General Nikolai Makarov as saying that the submarine would be procured for the navy.
'The sum of $650-780 million, which Rosoboronexport and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant had negotiated over a long period of time with the Indian defence ministry, will now be found in Russia, either within the state weapons procurement programme or somewhere else,' Makarov said.
The construction of the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine started in 1991, but was suspended for over a decade due to a lack of funding.
Indian media have reported on various occasions that the construction of the submarine was partially financed by the Indian government. India has reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton submarine.
The submarine's reactor was not affected by the accident, which took place in the nose of the submarine, and radiation levels on board remained normal.
The Russian Navy earlier said the sea trials of the submarine would continue after the investigation into the recent tragedy and certain technical adjustments are made in the fire safety system.
Nerpa will reportedly join other seven Akula class submarines in Russia's Pacific Fleet.
Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.