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Harmless Radioactive Cloud Over Europe Came From Russia

Image: Harmless Radioactive Cloud Over Europe Came From Russia

(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 November 2017 12:59 PM

A harmless radioactive cloud that drifted across Europe in September may have come from Russia, according to The Washington Post.

In Russia, the cloud had about 1,000 times higher radioactivity than normal levels, but experts noted that even with such levels, the cloud still may have been harmless, The Post reported.

Austria first detected unusually large radiation levels on Oct. 3, and Germany confirmed the levels the next day. The levels went up and down, then faded away over a vast portion of the European continent, the report said.

France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety said the cloud of radioactive isotopes — Ruthenium-106 — posed no health risks.

French researchers and Germany's Agency for Radiation Protection both calculated that its sources was in Russia. Russia's Meteorological Service confirmed that it had recorded "extremely high contamination" at the end of September in the southern Urals region, The Post reported.

The Russian nuclear regulatory body Rosatom disputed that it was responsible for the high radiation levels. "The recent Ru-106 emission which is being reported is not linked to any Rosatom site," Rosatom said, according to The Post.

If such a radiation increase had happened in Europe, French researchers said that the government would have been likely to order a local evacuation, according to The Post.

Analysts said that the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia is a likely origin for the leak. The plant had been involved in a number of incidents, including dumping nuclear waste in a river in 2004, the report said.

In 1957, a storage tank exploded at the plant, spreading radioactive waste across the region. Activists later called it the "second biggest nuclear disaster in history" after Chernobyl, according to a Greenpeace report. 

The cloud was never a danger, according to Germany's radiation agency, which said that people could inhale from the Ruthenium cloud for a straight week and receive no more radiation than people naturally do in an hour, The Post noted.

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A harmless radioactive cloud that drifted across Europe in September may have come from Russia, according to The Washington Post.
radioactive, cloud, europe, russia
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2017-59-21
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 12:59 PM
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