November 11, 2017
RUSSIA has sent a radioactive cloud hurtling towards western Europe after a nuclear “accident” spread dangerous levels of pollution through the air.



French nuclear experts detected traces of ruthenium 106 in the air in three monitoring stations as the cloud engulfed the continent.
The substance, a radioactive nuclide which is only produced when atoms are split in a nuclear reactor, was also found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
One French official stressed it is “definitely not normal”.
The country’s nuclear safety institute, IRSN, said it could not pinpoint the exact location of the release of the radioactive cloud, which was first detected at the end of September, but weather pattens suggest it came from somewhere south of the Ural mountains.
This could indicate the plant is in either Russia, or perhaps over the border in Kazakhstan.

Russia sparks nuclear alert as radioactive cloud spreads over Europe

IRSN director Jean-Marc Peres confirmed the substance could not have occurred naturally.
The news comes just a week after the UK was struck by "radiation fog" with the Met Office issuing an alert.
Nuclear radiation fears are also being caused by North Korea with their testing of the hydrogen bomb and missiles.
IRSN added that if an accident of the same magnitude happened in France, it would have triggered a mass evacuation of all those in a radius of “a few kilometres” around the site.
High levels of ruthenium 106 were found in the atmosphere of a majority of European countries at the start of last month, with a steady decline since October 6.



But Jean-Christophe Gariel, the director for health at the IRSN, said it had not made its way to Britain.
Mr Gariel said: “We observed only ruthenium, which indicates it couldn’t come fro a nuclear reactor as we would have seen other fission products, like Caesium.”
The ruthenium 106 was probably released in nuclear fuel treatment site, or a centre for radioactive medicine.
The product is used in radioactive medicine because of its relatively short half-life, of about a year.
There has been no impact on human health or the environment in Europe, the IRSN said, and the risk of the substance getting into imported food was extremely low.

Russia sparks nuclear alert as radioactive cloud spreads over Europe

The responsibility for identifying the source of the nuclear cloud was with the Russians, Mr Gariel said.
He added: “The matter is closed as far as France is concerned. It’s not a problem for France.
“What is not satisfactory is that ruthenium 106 has been detected across Europe and that poses a question.
“We have come up with a plausible zone of where it could have come from; we can’t do any more.
“Russia is a vast country and we’re not aware of all the installations on its territory. The ball is now in the other camp.”

Russia sparks nuclear alert as radioactive cloud spreads over Europe

Last month it was revealed in North Korea at least 200 people were killed when a “unfinished” tunnel collapsed at the underground Punggye-ri nuclear test base on September 10.
There were fears the collapse could have triggered a Fukushima-Chernobyl radioactive leak, unleashing the fallout across the world.
Mr Gariel contacted nuclear experts in Russia, who denied there had been a disaster.
He said: “From their point of view, they said they had had no problems.”
Rosatom, the Russian nuclear operator, said it had detected nothing.
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