Nu­clear cloud no con­cern

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - JAMIE SEI­DEL

EUROPE’S ra­di­a­tion ex­perts are on alert over a cloud of ra­di­a­tion that has been drift­ing across the con­ti­nent.

While its ra­di­a­tion level is harm­less, sci­en­tists don’t know where it came from, al­though it has been tracked from Rus­sia or Kaza­khstan.

“The con­cen­tra­tion lev­els of Ruthe­nium-106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and es­pe­cially in France are of no con­se­quence for hu­man health and for the en­vi­ron­ment,” France’s In­sti­tute for Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Pro­tec­tion and Nu­clear Safety said.

“The re­lease, ac­ci­den­tal with re­gard to the quan­tity re­leased, would have oc­curred dur­ing the last week of Septem­ber 2017.”

Ruthe­nium-106 is a by-prod­uct of a nu­clear re­ac­tion and doesn’t oc­cur nat­u­rally.

But an­a­lysts don’t be­lieve it came from a nu­clear power plant, be­ing more likely from a nu­clear fuel prepa­ra­tion or nu­clear medicine site.

The ra­di­a­tion was mea­sured at 100 to 300 ter­abec­querels (the num­ber of nu­cleus de­cays per sec­ond).

The 2011 Fuk­ishima dis­as­ter emit­ted about 900,000 TBq, and the 1986 Ch­er­nobyl catas­tro­phe 5.2 mil­lion TBq.

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