Watchdog agencies last week detected an increase in radioactivity levels in the atmosphere over northern Europe, suggesting a potential damage at a nuclear plant. Authorities noted the possibility that the spike may have come from one of the nuclear plants in Russia but a spokesman has denied any problems with the Russian power plants.
Several Scandinavian watchdog agencies detected elevated levels of radionuclides cesium-134, cesium -137 and ruthenium-103 over parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic. Although the levels are not considered harmful to human health and the environment, radionuclides are artificial, unstable byproducts of nuclear fission, suggesting that the sudden increase in levels may have resulted from a damage in a nuclear power plant.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority noted Tuesday (June 24) that locating the origin of the radionuclides is “not possible” but by Friday, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands announced that calculations revealed that the radionuclides may actually have come from the direction of Western Russia.
In a tweet, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Lassina Zerbo, shared a map of the possible source of the radiation although a specific location was not pinpointed.
However, an unnamed spokesman from the Russian nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom denied that there were any problems with the nuclear plants in the region. In fact, the spokesperson said that the radiation levels at the power stations in the area do not exceed normal background radiation figures.
“Both stations are working in normal regime. There have been no complaints about the equipment’s work,” the spokesman told Russian news agency, TASS. “Aggregated emissions of all specified isotopes in the above-mentioned period did not exceed the reference numbers. No incidents related to release of radionuclide outside containment structures have been reported.”