Fears grow of 'nuclear accident' in Russian Federation

by Antonio Miles November 23, 2017, 0:28
Fears grow of 'nuclear accident' in Russian Federation

While Mayak denied involvement in the release of any radioactive material, Russia's meteorological service this week confirmed the extreme concentrations of radiation in the Ural Mountains region in September and October.

Its Mayak facility, where an explosion in 1957 contaminated a swath of central Russian Federation, told state news agency RIA Novosti it had not processed nuclear fuel with ruthenium-106 this year.

Russian Federation today denied there had been an incident at any of its nuclear facilities after the country's weather service reported radioactive pollution that exceeded background levels by 986 times.

In October, Rosatom, Russia's nuclear corporation, said that "in samples tested from September 25 to October 7, including in the southern Urals, no trace of ruthenium-106 was found, except in St Petersburg".

It said it was not the source of the increased level of ruthenium-106, while Rosatom said there were no accidents at any of its facilities.

Russia's meteorological service has confirmed that "extremely high" concentrations of a radioactive isotope were found in parts of the country in late September.

France's Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety published this graphic to show radiation levels.

Russia Tuesday Nov. 21 2017. Environmental pressure group Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday that it would petition the Russi
Russia admits 'extremely high' levels of nuclear leak caused mysterious radioactive cloud over Europe

Greenpeace Russia says the supposed site of the present-day accident roughly coincides with the location of the Mayak nuclear complex. In 1957, the plant triggered what environmental activists later called the world's "second biggest nuclear disaster in history" after a storage tank exploded and radioactive waste was spread across the region - contaminating tens of thousands of people.

Russia's meteorological agency, Rosgidromet, said pollution was of Ru-106 almost 1,000 times normal levels at the Argayash weather station in late September and early October.

The isotope was then detected in Tatarstan and then in southern Russian Federation, eventually reaching "all European countries starting in Italy and toward the north of Europe" from September 29, AFP cited Rosgidromet as saying.

Ruthenium-106 is a product of splitting atoms in a reactor, and is also used in certain medical treatments. The facility now serves as a reprocessing site for nuclear fuel and ranks as one of the most radioactive places on earth, according to Greenpeace.

Jean-Christophe Gariel, the director for health at the IRSN, said the responsibility for identifying the source of the nuclear cloud was with the Russians. It does not occur naturally.

Nonetheless, the IRSN concluded that if the accidental release of this much ruthenium-106 had occurred on French soil, evacuations of the immediate area up to a few kilometres around the origin point would have taken place - so it's still a significant event that should have been treated with caution.

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