Radioactivity over Europe suggests reactor accident in Asia

Radioactivity over Europe suggests reactor accident in Asia
(Map graphic: IRSN via NPR)

[Ed. – This isn’t the only recent reporting of elevated levels of radioactive material in the atmosphere over Europe.  It’s the most focused and specific, however.  Authorities seem to think it indicates a possible radioactive release on the Russia-Kazakhstan border.]

European authorities are providing new details about a cloud of mysterious radioactive material that appeared over the continent last month.

Monitors in Italy were among first to detect the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 on Oct. 3, according to a fresh report by France’s Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute, known as IRSN. In total, 28 European countries saw the radioactive cloud, the report says.

The multinational Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, which runs a network designed to monitor for nuclear weapons tests, also confirmed to NPR that it had detected the cloud.

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Based on the detection from monitoring stations and meteorological data, the mysterious cloud — which has since dissipated — has been traced to somewhere along the Russia-Kazakhstan border, according to Jean-Christophe Gariel, director for health at the IRSN.

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