Five Russian scientists who assisted in the design of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant were among the 44 fatalities of Monday's Russian plain crash, Moscow's International News Agency RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
The Tupolev-134 plane broke up and caught fire upon making an emergency landing outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk. A preliminary investigation ruled out the possibility of a technical failure.
Three of the experts – Sergei Rizhov, Gennadi Benyok, and Nicolai Tronov – were among the atom facility's designers. Andrei Trokinov, a top Russian nuclear technological expert, was also killed, as was Valery Lalyn, another nuclear expert.
The five worked at Bushehr and were to ensure the facility would withstand natural disasters.
The five were employed by Hydropress, a member-organization of Russia's State Nuclear Corporation. Hydropress is one of the main companies involved in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and is also involved in projects in China, India and Bulgaria.
Novosti sources said that the deaths were "a great blow to the Russian nuclear industry."
According to the news agency's sources, no foul play was involved.