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Greenpeace reported possible radioactivity discharge in the air in Western Russia

Alexandra Korobeynikova
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Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish agencies for radiological protection reported a slight increase in the concentration of artificial radioactive material in the air on their websites within June. Greenpeace noted this on June 26. It is possible that there was discharge in Western Russia as well.

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands analyzed measurement data in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The radionuclides found in these countries come from reactors, Greenpeace quotes the RIVM’s report. According to the Institute, their composition may indicate damage to the primary circuit of a reactor or power cell at a nuclear power plant, the structures of a nuclear-power icebreaker or atomarine, or the depressurization of spent nuclear fuel. As estimated by the Institute, that radionuclides come from the West of Russia. The exact location of the source could not be determined due to the limited number of measurements.

The Russian latest information site, which provides data on the radiation situation from stations, does not show any excess of normal values near nuclear power plants in Western Russia in June. There are no such data for June in the reports of Russian Meteorological Service. However, Greenpeace notes that this may be due to a delay in receiving and publishing data. At the same time, the organization believes that the increase in the concentration of radionuclides is not connected to the ongoing transportation of uranium tailings from Germany to Russia.

European radiation control agencies mentioned above assess the radioactivity concentration in the air as low, not of hazard to people or the environment. On August 8, 2019, there was an explosion at the Nyonoksa Testing Site near Severodvinsk in Arkhangelsk Oblast. After that, an increase in radioactivity was noticed in the city. Military columnist Alexander Golts supposed in an interview with 7x7 that it was connected to a failed test of the Burevestnik radioisotope power plant missile.

The Ministry of Defense reported an explosion at a testing site near Nyonoksa. According to the agency, there were no hazardous substances emissions into the atmosphere and the radiation background in the area of the explosion was normal. On August 13, Russian Meteorological Service confirmed a 16-fold increase in the level of radiation in Severodvinsk on August 8 and attributed it to a cloud of radioactive inert gases having passed by. Greenpeace reported that Russian Meteorological Service’s data suggested an incident with a nuclear reactor during rocket-testing near Severodvinsk. The organization considered that the consequences of the accident at the military facility may result into an increase in cancer diseases in the region.


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