Russian Federation says 'extremely high' radioactivity not from nuclear accident

Roshydrome said two stations in the southern Ural Mountains found "extremely high pollution" of the radioactive isotope between September and October.

The level of ruthenium-106, a radioactive isotope that does not occur naturally, had reached 986 times the normal level of pollution at a monitoring station about 20 miles from the Mayak nuclear facility, where in 1957 an explosion exposed at least 272,000 people to risky levels of radiation.

The report claims that radioactive aerosol probes found pollution to be almost a thousand times higher than usual in some places between the end of September and start of October.

The Guardian says Tuesday's report contradicts an October statement from Rosatom, Russia's nuclear agency, which claimed no abnormal readings.

The Federal Service for Consumer Protection and Welfare, Rospotrebnadzor, also concluded that levels of Ruthenium-106 did not exceed acceptable limits. Authorities discovered radioactive isotopes from ruthenium-106 in the air above Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France in September.

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The reported findings from Russian Federation appear to confirm reports from Europe earlier this month that a cloud containing the radioisotope Ru-106 drifted over Europe last month, which European meteorological agencies had said likely originated in either the southeastern Urals region of Russian Federation or Kazakhstan, RFE/RL wrote.

Today Mayak produces parts for nuclear weapons and processes spent nuclear fuel.

In 1957, it was the site of the Kyshtym disaster, one of the worst nuclear accidents in history, which was kept secret by the Soviet Union for 30 years.

Russia's consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor also said the levels registered by the weather service were safe, giving a different figure of "200 times below" a level that would be considered unacceptable.

On Monday, Rosgidromet said the isotope was detected in Tatarstan and southern Russian Federation, and had eventually reached "all European countries starting in Italy and toward the north of Europe" from 29 September.

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Quoted by Sputnik, the Rosatom representative stated that there were "no incidents or accidents at nuclear facilities in Russia". It does not occur naturally. Luckily, it said the release of the isotope Ruthenium-106 posed no health or environmental risks to European countries.

Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday that it would ask Russia's prosecutors' office to investigate whether there had been an accident in the area.

The exact source of the spike, however, remains unknown, though IRSN suggested that the cause might be an accident.

At Beacon, in turn, argue that the release of ruthenium-106 are irrelevant and stated that after checking his background radiation did not reveal any abnormalities.

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