New research has suggested the huge radioactive cloud that blanketed parts of Europe in 2017 was produced by an accident at a nuclear facility in central Russia, despite Moscow denying responsibility at the time. The study, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said there is no doubt that the cloud of radiation came from the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant, located in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region near its border with Kazakhstan. Austrian scientists were the first to raise the alarm on October 3, 2017, after detecting abnormally high levels of local radiation. German researchers reported similar findings at around the same time. Both nations are thousands of miles from Mayak, and investigators soon realized that a large swathe of the continent had been affected.
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