A Russian nuclear submarine has been on the heels of a major nuclear disaster in 2011, according to a new report published by a leading Russian magazine.
The dry-docked nuclear submarine Yekaterinburg was carrying atomic weapons onboard when it caught on fire late last December.
At the time of the accident, Russian officials maintained that the fire posed no threat of a radiation disaster, but a new report published in the weekly magazine Kommersant Vlast has come out to counter those claims.
Following the accident, Russia's Defense Ministry blamed the fire on a breach of safety violations but told the public that the submarine had no weapons on board when it caught ablaze – adding that there was no risk of a radiation leak.
However, Vlast's new report quotes sources from the Russian Navy that argues that a nuclear disaster could have occurred during the Dec. 29 fire.
According to the sources quoted in Vlast, the 550-foot sub was carrying 16 R-29 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each of which was armed with four nuclear warheads.
"Russia, for a day, was on the brink of the biggest catastrophe since the time of Chernobyl," Vlast reported.
Chernobyl was a nuclear disaster that occurred in April of 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in the Ukraine.
Chernobyl is regarded as the world's worst nuclear disaster due to the release of a large quantity of radioactive contamination throughout the Western USSR and Europe.
The U.S. also confirmed that warheads were on board during the accident, telling NBC News that although nuclear warheads were onboard the submarine, the fire would have not likely caused a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl because it did not occur where the weapons were stored.