Report of 'extremely high' radioactive pollution suggests nuclear cloud came from Russian Federation

Pauline Gross
November 22, 2017

Asked about the incident, a regional official on Tuesday suggested that the IRSN wanted to discredit Mayak in order to boost France's own nuclear processing industry.

The data corroborated conclusions reached by France's nuclear regulator, which reported 11 days ago that a cloud of radioactive pollution detected over Europe likely came from an accident that could have taken place in Russian Federation or Kazakhstan during the last week of September.

The radiation situation around all Russian nuclear facilities is normal and corresponds to the natural radiation background, it said. It added the isotope was detected in Tatarstan and southern Russian Federation, eventually reaching "all European countries, starting in Italy and toward the north of Europe" from September 29.

"The source of this planted information was in France where there is a facility that is a competitor of our Mayak that processes nuclear waste", regional public safety minister Yevgeny Savchenko told the Ura.ru news website.

France's IRSN had said a nuclear reactor could not have been the source of the Ru-106 since other radioactive elements would also have been detected.

The Russian Natural Resources Ministry which oversees the meteorological office in a statement later on Tuesday sought to reassure the public, claiming that the radiation levels there still were lower than those deemed to be unsafe.

"The published data do not allow us to establish the location (country) of the pollution source", Roshydromet head Maxim Yakovenko said.

"The concentration levels of ruthenium-106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no outcome for human health and for the environment", the IRSN said in a statement.

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In 1957, a storage tank exploded at the plant, spreading radioactive waste across the region. It does not occur naturally.

Russia's Consumer Rights Protection service said in a statement that the ruthenium 106 posed no threat to public health.

The data appears to back up a report by the French nuclear safety institute IRSN, which said on November 9 a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe had indicated some kind of leak had taken place at a nuclear facility either in Russian Federation or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.

Because of the release's magnitude, Bøhmer called on Rosatom to conduct a full inquiry and release the results internationally.

But Rosatom suggested that a discharge from an installation linked to the nuclear fuel cycle or which produces radioactive materials could be the cause of the radioactive cloud.

Ruthenium-106 is an isotope used in radiotherapy for eye tumors and for treatment of uveal melanoma, according to data from the Isotope group, a Rosatom affiliate.

"Greenpeace will send a letter asking prosecutors to open an inquiry into potential concealment of a nuclear incident", the charity said in a statement.

Other reports by GizPress

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