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Radioactivity hike seen in northern Europe; source unknown

by Ace Damon
Radioactivity hike seen in northern Europe; source unknown

HELSINKI-
Nordic officials say they have detected a little more radioactivity in northern Europe this month, which Dutch officials said may be from a source in western Russia and may “indicate damage to a combustible element in a nuclear power plant.”

But Russian news agency TASS, citing a spokesman for state nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom., reported that the two nuclear power plans in northwestern Russia reported no problems.

The Leningrad plant near St. Petersburg and the Kola plant near the northern city of Murmansk “operate normally, with radiation levels within the norm,” Tass said.

Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish radiation and nuclear safety watchdogs said this week that they have spotted small amounts of radioactive isotopes harmless to humans and the environment in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said on Tuesday that “it is not now possible to confirm what could be the source of the increased levels” of radioactivity or from where a cloud, or clouds, containing radioactive isotopes that supposedly has been blowing over the skies of northern Europe originated. Their Finnish and Norwegian counterparts also did not speculate on a potential source.

But the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and Environment said Friday that it analyzed nordic data and “these calculations show that radionuclides (radioactive isotopes) come from the direction of Western Russia.”

“Radionuclides are artificial, that is, they are man-made. The composition of the nuclides may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant,” the Dutch agency said, adding that “a specific site of origin cannot be identified due to the limited number of measurements.”

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo of the Comprehensive Organization of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty tweeted on Friday that the organization’s radiation monitoring sensors in Sweden detected a slight increase in several harmless isotopes in northwest European airspace.

22/23 June 2020, RN #IMS station SEP63 #Sweden 3isotopes detected; Cs-134, Cs-137 & Ru-103 associated with nuclear fission @ higher than usual levels (but not harmful to human health). The possible region of origin in the 72h prior to detection is shown in orange on the map. pic.twitter.com/ZeGsJa21TN

— Lassina Zerbo (@SinaZerbo) June 26, 2020

Rosatomenergo’s unidentified spokesman told TASS on Saturday that radiation levels at the Leningrad and Kola plants and their surrounding areas “remained unchanged in June, and no change was also observed at the time.”

“Both stations are running on a normal basis. There were no complaints about the work of the equipment,” Tass said. “No incidents related to the release of radionuclides outside the containment structures have been reported.”

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