Superheated steam leaked inside the turbine room of a submerged French nuclear submarine Wednesday, killing the commander and nine sailors during an exercise in the Mediterranean.
The Emeraude surfaced and headed back to its base at Toulon using diesel and battery power, officials said.
The accident did not affect the vessel’s nuclear reactor and “in no way puts into question either the nuclear security of the vessel or the environment,” the Defense Ministry said.
A leak in a pipe “filled the turbo-generating room with steam,” burning the victims or asphyxiating them, Rear Adm. Philippe Roy said, adding that there was no word on the cause of the leak.
One of six nuclear attack submarines based at Toulon, the Emeraude is powered by a pressurized water-cooled nuclear reactor, which heats water to produce steam to drive two turbine generators. It carries no nuclear weapons.