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Russia test-fires two new nuclear missiles

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia successfully tested on Friday its two new Bulava intercontinental missiles, which experienced several failures in the past.

The Defence Ministry said the 12-meter-long Bulava, or Mace, which Moscow aims to make the cornerstone of its nuclear arsenal, was fired from a submarine in the Arctic White Sea and hit the target, a designated polygon, on Kamchatka peninsula in Russia's far east.

"The launch was carried out from (the submarine in) submerged position in the White Sea," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by state-run RIA news agency as saying. "Its warheads reached the polygon (target) on time."

The missiles carry dummies rather than nuclear warheads as Russia is a signatory of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) which bans all nuclear explosions.

The Bulava had failed half of its previous trials, calling into question the expensive missile program. The previous launch in June from the same submarine was a success though.

A Bulava missile weighs 36.8 tonnes and can travel a distance of 8,000 km (5,000) miles carrying 6-10 nuclear warheads, which would deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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