Russia's Mayak Nuclear Plant Denies Involvement In Mysterious Radioactive Cloud

Russia admits nuclear leak near site of 1957 disaster
Russia admits 'extremely high' levels of nuclear leak caused mysterious radioactive cloud over Europe
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23 November, 2017

However, on Tuesday, Russia's Meteorological Service confirmed that it recorded "extremely high contamination" with radioactive isotopes in the southern Urals region at the end of September.

In a press statement issued today, Mayak said it was not the source of the excess concentration of ruthenium-106, and officials in Chelyabinsk, the nearest large city, said they would have been ordered to evacuate if radiation levels were risky, The Moscow Times reports.

The Mayak plant accounts for half of Russian exports of radioactive isotopes although it has denied being the source of increased level of ruthenium 106.

Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom had said that the release of the radioactive material, known as ruthenium 106, was natural background radiation, the RIA Novosti news wire reported at the time. The head of Rosgidromet, however, said that the automatic monitoring system detected an increase in the concentration of Ru-106 not only in Russian Federation, but also in neighboring countries such as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

Russia's meteorological service has confirmed that "extremely high" concentrations of a radioactive isotope were found in parts of the country in late September.

The reported findings from Russian Federation appear to confirm reports from Europe earlier this month that a cloud containing the radioisotope Ru-106 drifted over Europe last month, which European meteorological agencies had said likely originated in either the southeastern Urals region of Russian Federation or Kazakhstan, RFE/RL wrote. The facility now serves as a reprocessing site for nuclear fuel and ranks as one of the most radioactive places on earth, according to Greenpeace.

It said that the source of the pollution was probably an accident somewhere between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, adding that the concentrations measured in Europe were not a danger to public health.

Involvement in fact the release of unsafe chemical element ruthenium in the Chelyabinsk region, employees of the enterprise "Mayak" denies, despite the fact that many global and domestic structures indicates that this enterprise is a source of the spread of radiation contamination.

Russia admits nuclear leak near site of 1957 disaster
Rosatom: No Incidents on Russian Nuclear Sites Which Could Lead to Ru-106 Spike

Alarmingly high radiation levels nearly 1,000 times above normal levels have been detected in the Ural mountains, according to Russia's meteorological service.

Mayak, located in the city of Ozersk, has had a number of nuclear accidents in the past, including one in 1957 that was the second largest nuclear disaster in history.

In a statement on Monday, Rosgidromet said the nuclear matter could eventually reach "all European countries starting in Italy and toward the north of Europe".

Ruthenium-106 is a product of splitting atoms in a reactor and does not occur naturally.

"Another possibility is that materials containing ruthenium-106 were placed in a metal remelting furnace".

Greenpeace Russia said Tuesday it will ask prosecutors to look to see if there's any evidence of a cover-up.

France's IRSN, a nuclear monitor, has played down reports of an accident in a nuclear reactor.

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