French Regulator Finds Ruthenium 106 Spike In Atmosphere

French nuclear power regulator IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire) said Thursday that it had detected a late September spike in the isotope Ruthenium 106 and suspects that the source of the leak, which was not threatening to humans, was a fuel processing or fuel storage center in Russia or Kazakhstan.

IRSN MapRussian officials, according to media reports, have said they were unaware that any leak had occurred.

The IRSN, a branch of the national nuclear regulator ASN (Nuclear Safety Authority), said that the isotope was first detected in late September “by several European networks involved in the monitoring of atmospheric radioactive contamination at levels of a few milliBecquerels per cubic meter of air.”

The regulator also said investigations make it possible to provide information on the possible location of the source of the release, as well as the order of magnitude.

The IRSN said it mobilized “all of its means” for detection as soon as it was aware of the spike in radiation levels, noting that only stations in Seyhe-sur-Mer, Nice and Ajaccio came up with any increases, from September 27 until October 13, the last time the spike was detectable in France.

The agency then analyzed meteorological data to conclude “the most plausible zone of release lies between the Volg and the Urals without it being possible … to specify the exact location of the point of release.”

While the agency said their was no immediate cause for concern for humans or the environment, it suggested that food from the region of the release should be randomly checked for contamination.

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