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16 January, Wednesday

Ufa   °

Ruthenium release into atmosphere in Southern Urals was associated with burnt satellite


UFA, 8 December 2017. /Bashinform News Agency, Galina Bakhshieva/.

The Commission, which studied the issue of ruthenium-106 release in the Southern Urals, reported that the cause of the pollution could be a satellite burnt in the atmosphere, on board which was the source of this isotope with a high total activity. This is reported by RBC.

Earlier, environmentalists announced a version that the cause of the outbreak was an accident at the Mayak enterprise, which is part of Rosatom.

Roshydromet (Russian meteorological service) only explained that the strongest emissions were recorded in the Southern Urals. Then the pollution began to spread to the west because of the cyclone. A few days after the release in the Urals, a stronger background was recorded in Romania.

"Considering that these territories [the South Urals and Eastern Europe] are more than two and a half thousand kilometers apart, the current picture may indicate the presence of another source of emissions," the commission's conclusion says.

The materials also tell us that none of the 250 Mayak employees who underwent control on the human radiation spectrometer were exposed to ruthenium-106.

The press service of Roskosmos did not comment on the interdepartmental commission's report that ruthenium-106 could get into the sky from a satellite burnt in the atmosphere.

The commission included Vladimir Boltunov, Director of the Rosatom General Inspector Service and other representatives of the state corporation, Deputy Director of the Institute for Safe Development of Nuclear Energy of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rafael Arutyunyan, Deputy Head of the Department for Supervision and Control in the Sphere of Sanitary and Epidemiological Wellbeing of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency Nadezhda Potsyapun.

Ruthenium-106 is a fission product contained in spent nuclear fuel; its half-life is just over a year (373.59 days).

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