Russia measured pollution of radioactive isotope of 1,000 times after nuclear incident

A German police officer uses a Geiger counter to measure the radiation of a Castor container on a transport train, during a stop in Neunkirchen near Saarbruecken November 25, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Domanski
Vastavam web: Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that a nuclear incident had taken place.The data appears to back up a report by the French nuclear safety institute IRSN, which said on Nov. 9 a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe had indicated some kind of leak had taken place at a nuclear facility either in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.Western scientists said the ruthenium 106 levels disclosed did not by themselves indicate any major health threat, although it was still unclear what had happened.
“Ruthenium is very rare and hence its presence may suggest that an event of some nature has occurred. That being said, the natural abundance is so low that even a factor of 900 up on natural levels is still very low,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering at Oxford University Hospitals in England.“If it was a reactor leak or nuclear explosion, other radioisotopes would also be present in the ‘plume’ and from the reports, they are not,” Regan said.
Andrey Vazhenin, the main oncology specialist of the Chelyabinsk region where the two weather stations are located, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying people had nothing no worry about. Those concerned should instead “watch football and drink beer”.Still, some researchers called for a more complete investigation. Bruno Chareyron, head of independent French nuclear laboratory CRIIRAD, called on the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to order an inspection and impose protective measures.