MOSCOW -- Thousands of Russians attended the funerals Monday of five Russian nuclear engineers killed by an explosion as they tested a new rocket engine, a tragedy that fueled radiation fears and raised new questions about a secretive weapons program.

The engineers, who died Thursday, were laid to rest Monday in Sarov, which hosts Russia's main nuclear weapons research center, where they worked. Flags flew at half-staff in the city, located 230 miles east of Moscow, which has served as a base for Russia's nuclear weapons program since the late 1940s. The coffins were displayed at Sarov's main square before being driven to a cemetery.

The Defense Ministry initially reported that the explosion at the navy's testing range near the village of Nyonoksa in the northwestern Arkhangelsk region killed two people and injured six others. The state-controlled Rosatom nuclear corporation then said over the weekend that the blast also killed five of its workers and injured three others. It's not clear what the final toll is.

The company said the victims were on a sea platform testing a rocket engine and were thrown into the sea by explosion.

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