Greenpeace called for an investigation on Tuesday into the possible concealment of a nuclear incident in southern Russia, after Russian meteorologists confirmed on Tuesday that they recorded a rise in radiation coming from the Urals region in late September. The spike in radioactive ruthenium-106 isotopes coincided with a radioactive cloud that formed over much of Europe—but a reprocessing plant denied any involvement.
“An emergency discharge of ruthenium could be connected with the process of nuclear waste vitrification. Another possibility is that materials containing ruthenium-106 were placed in a metal remelting furnace. Both these activities take place in the Rosatom complex at Mayak,” said Greenpeace in a statement.
The environmental group’s Russian arm demanded that Russia’s nuclear agency conduct “an in-depth inquiry and publish the results about the incidents at Mayak.” Greenpeace also called for an examination into whether officials had been sufficiently transparent “and whether public health around a possible release of ruthenium 106-was sufficiently protected.”
According to Radio Free Europe, officials in Chelyabinsk, a city in the southern Ural region where Mayak is located, “received no official information about dangerous levels of radiation in September.”
But according to the meteorological service, levels of ruthenium-106 were found to be nearly 1,000 times higher than normal in parts of Russia in late September.
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