Russian Federation reports radioactivity 986 times the norm after nuclear accident claim

Russia Mayak Nuclear Plant

"Probes of radioactive aerosols from monitoring stations at Argayash and Novogorny were found to contain radioisotope Ru-106 between September 25 and October 1", the Rosgidromet service said.

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.

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, Rosgidromet said.

Agrayash weather station, located around 20 miles from a huge nuclear reprocessing plant known as Mayak, recorded pollution levels 986 times those of the previous month. The plant said it has not conducted any work on extracting Ru-106 from spent nuclear fuel for many years, reported the Post.

Duncan Cox, leader of Public Health England's radiation emergency response group, said: "Radiation monitors at our sites in Oxfordshire and Glasgow have been checked since September when this substance was reported by other European radiation monitoring institutes, and we have not detected any unusual sources of radiation".

The Argayash station referred to by the Russian Meteorological Service is about 30 km from the Mayak nuclear facility, which was the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history in 1957.

It is a hard, silvery-white metal with a shiny surface.

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The primary uses of ruthenium are in alloys and as catalysts for industrial processes. The state nuclear corporation Rosatom said then that "radiation around all objects of Russian nuclear infrastructure is within the norm and at the level of background radiation".

After Russia's confirmation, Greenpeace Russia called on Rosatom to open "an in-depth inquiry and publish the results about the incidents at Mayak".

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace said in a statement on November 21 that it would petition the Russian Prosecutor General's office to investigate "a possible concealment of a radiation accident" and check whether public health was sufficiently protected.

Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope that is a by-product of a nuclear reaction and it is not found in nature.

The thin cloud, which vanished within weeks, was spotted over more than a dozen nations, but reportedly did not pose a health risk.

The institute also said the probability of importation into France of foodstuffs, notably mushrooms, contaminated by ruthenium 106 near the site of the accident is extremely low.

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