There was no indication when it might be safe for them to return.
Later on Tuesday, however, a report on Interfax suggested that the evacuation might have been called off. It quoted an anonymous official in the Severodvinsk city administration as saying, “Yes, indeed, they informed us the military had canceled tomorrow’s activities.”
President Vladimir V. Putin boasted last year that Russia was testing a cruise missile that would be propelled by a small nuclear reactor, in addition to carrying a nuclear warhead, flying a path too unpredictable to be intercepted. Western analysts called the missile “Skyfall,” and on Monday, President Trump tweeted that the accident last week was a Skyfall exploding.
The Russian authorities have not said that the new type of weapon was linked to the accident. But they have acknowledged that radioactive material and a reactor were involved in the incident at a missile testing range.
Russian statements about the intensity of the radiation release have been contradictory. Scientists with the Russian Federal Nuclear Agency said on Sunday that radiation levels had climbed briefly to twice the background level in Severodvinsk, about 25 miles from the test site.
But on Tuesday, Russia’s national meteorological agency reported radiation had risen last week to 16 times the norm in that city. No reports indicated the level in Nenoksa, located on the edge of the test range.
Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, discussed the accident publicly for the first time on Tuesday, saying that, “all agencies that are competent in this situation are supporting the complete safety of Russian citizens.”
A regional news site, Northern News, reported that doctors at a civilian hospital in Arkhangelsk, the largest city in the region, who first treated victims of the accident, had not been informed of radiation danger.