10.11.2017_No225 / News in Brief

Ruthenium-106 In Atmosphere Originated In Urals Region, Confirms France’s IRSN

Unplanned Events & Incidents

10 Nov (NucNet): The ruthenium-106 (Ru-106) detected in September and October by several European networks monitoring atmospheric radioactive contamination originated somewhere in the Urals region of Russia or Kazakhstan, France’s IRSN, the technical arm of French nuclear regulator ASN, said in a statement. IRSN said it could not pinpoint the location of the release of radioactive material, but based on weather patterns the most plausible zone lay south of the Ural mountains, between the Urals and the Volga river. This could indicate Russia or possibly Kazakhstan, an IRSN official said. IRSN said its conclusion was based on calculations of concentration levels measured in several European countries and on the meteorological conditions. IRSN said the Ru-106 was probably released in a nuclear fuel treatment site or centre for radioactive medicine. Because of its short half-life of about a year, Ru-106 is used in nuclear medicine – for example in cancer therapy for eye tumours – but can also be released when nuclear fuel is reprocessed. IRSN ruled out an accident in a nuclear reactor, as that would have led to contamination with other substances. It also ruled out the crash of a ruthenium-powered satellite as an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation has concluded that no ruthenium-containing satellite has fallen back on Earth during this period. IRSN said that the concentrations of Ru-106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe were of no consequence for human health and the environment. Monitoring stations in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland all detected very low levels of ruthenium 106 from late September. Details online: http://bit.ly/2Axv5CD

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • Ruthenium-106 Originated From Southern Urals, Says France’s IRSN (News in Brief No.201, 09 October 2017)

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David Dalton

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