More than two months after a mysterious radioactive cloud was detected over Europe, Russia’s nuclear industry went public Friday in an attempt to dispel fears that one of its facilities had released a plume of ruthenium-106. Russia’s state nuclear corporation, ROSATOM, released the findings of a special commission, which concluded that the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant, near the border with Kazakhstan, could not have been the source of ruthenium-106, a radioactive isotope. After the findings of the commission were released, Greenpeace Russia started a petition drive addressed to the general prosecutor’s office, demanding an investigation by independent specialists and public figures into a possible release of ruthenium from Russian territory, as well as into the possible concealment of information by ROSATOM. “The question is not only about the immediate danger, but the origin of this release,” Greenpeace energy campaigner Rashid Alimov said in a phone interview. “We think such incidents should be investigated and there must be an answer.” Finding the source of the radioactive cloud was beyond the scope of the ROSATOM commission. But because the ruthenium-106 over Europe was found alone, that is, unaccompanied by other radioactive isotopes, the commission said nuclear power plants or spent nuclear fuel processing facilities like Mayak could be excluded as sources because they don’t produce “pure” ruthenium-106. The commission said a satellite — or a fragment of one — re-entering the atmosphere cannot be completely ruled out as the source of the ruthenium.
NPR 8th Dec 2017 read more »
Daily Mail 8th Dec 2017 read more »