There’s a radioactive cloud over Europe, and a French nuclear safety institute believes it was caused by an accident at a nuclear facility in either Kazakhstan or Russia.
The French institute IRSN announced Thursday the pollution was most likely due to an accident at a nuclear fuel treatment site or center for radioactive medicine, and not nuclear power plants. The pollution has not had a negative effect on Europeans or the environment.
Russia and possibly Kazakhstan are the most likely suspects based on weather patterns.
Russia has denied that any leak was reported, and Kazak officials have not yet been reached, Reuters reports.
The pollution is made up of radioactive nuclides created when an atom is split in a nuclear reactor. The amount of ruthenium 106, the particular nuclide released, was significant enough that, had the release happened in France, an area of several kilometers around the emission would have been evacuated.
“The matter is closed as far as France is concerned. It’s not a problem for France, what is not satisfactory is that ruthenium-106 has been detected across Europe and that poses a question,” IRSN director for health Jean-Christophe Gariel told the Guardian. “We have come up with a plausible zone of where it could have come from; we can’t do any more. Russia is a vast country and we’re not aware of all the installations on its territory. The ball is now in the other camp.”
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