Lifts the veil on the mystery of the radioactive cloud that passed over Europe

Приподнимается завеса над тайной радиоактивного облака, которое прошло над Европой

“In 2017, the leakage of ruthenium has alarmed the scientific community, which points to the production Association “Mayak”, located in the Urals”, – the journalist writes Le Figaro mark Shirky.

“Such a scenario is not confirmed 100%. But it is becoming more likely. On Monday this hypothesis was confirmed in a scientific paper co-authored 69 researchers from Europe and Canada and published in the scientific journal PNAS of the American Academy of Sciences, – the journalist specifies. – The radioactive cloud, consisting solely of ruthenium detected over Western Europe in the fall of 2017 from 29 September to 7 October, probably came from Russia. Concentration, reaching 176 millibecquerels per m3 of air (Becquerel equals one radioactive disintegration per second) was discovered in Romania, which is 100 times higher than concentrations detected in Europe after the Fukushima accident. However, “even at this level, the cloud is not a danger to human health or the environment,” States the publication.

“But this radioactive trail, is probably associated with the accident at the nuclear reprocessing site AT Mayak in the southern Urals. Researchers continue to use the subjunctive, because despite evidence, Russia refuses to acknowledge its responsibility. The release of ruthenium can occur due to the production of radioactive isotopes in several tens of grams to supply cerium-144 in the framework of the fundamental experiment in nuclear physics conducted by the French research Institute CEA (Commissariat for atomic and alternative energies) and its Italian counterpart INFN (national Institute of nuclear physics). The radioisotope had to be placed in the particle detector installed in the underground laboratory Gran Sasso (Italy), for the Borexino experiment associated with the search for elementary particles (the so-called “sterile” neutrinos),” explains Shirky.

“This is not a Franco-German article. And the point of view of the European scientific community, which points a finger at the plant “Mayak” – sums up Professor George Steinhauser from the Institute of radiation and radiation protection, University of Hannover (Germany) and the second author. And he adds: “the Hypothesis of the experiment Borexino, nominated by the French Institute for radiological protection and nuclear safety (IRSN, February 6, 2018), is an excellent explanation. But no formal evidence”.

“Neither Rosatom, the operator of nuclear installations in Russia, nor the safety authority, nuclear safety Institute of RAS (Institute of problems of safe development of atomic engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences), do not recognize their role,” writes Le Figaro.

“They deny their possible involvement,” says a German researcher. Monday “Rosatom” and IBRAE ran did not answer the questions put to them”, – said the journalist. “The production of radioactive isotopes for the experiment Borexino, as far as we know, is the only possible way to explain the cloud of ruthenium, confirms Jean-Christophe Gariel, Deputy Director General of the IRSN environment and health. – I don’t understand why the Russians do not want to talk on this subject.”

“We are preparing another article which will detail our “inverse modelling”. This method allowed us to determine, according to the emission of Ru-106 (ruthenium isotope) as measured in Western Europe, the source of the contamination, which came from the South Urals, and, therefore, very likely, with the production Association “Mayak”, – says Jean-Christophe Gariel.

“For its part, the International atomic energy Agency (IAEA) located in Vienna (Austria), which tracked the case in the 44 member countries, believes that since “there is no risk to health”, he has no “authority to conduct additional investigations in the case when the increase of the level of radioactivity has an unknown origin”, – transfers the edition.