A mysterious radiation cloud across Europe, was reduced to secret Russian nuclear accident

Russia has never acknowledged that a nuclear accident occurred at the Mayak facility in the Chelyabinsk region in 2017. Credit: U.s. Army Photo/Carl Anderson

A huge cloud of nuclear radiation exposure that is spread out all over continental Europe in 2017 is reduced to a non-recognized nuclear accident in the southern part of Russia, according to an international team of scientists.

The experts say that the effects of the radiation to be detected all over Europe at the end of September 2017, and can only have been caused by a nuclear fuel reprocessing accident at the Mayak Production Association, a nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region of the Ural mountains in Russia, and somewhere in between in the afternoon on a Sunday. 26, and noon on Sunday. 27.

Russia has confirmed that a cloud of radiation was detected over the Ural mountains at the time, but it has never acknowledged any responsibility for the radiation leak, nor will it ever be allowed to have a nuclear accident that took place at Mayak, in 2017. [Top 10 Greatest Explosions Ever]

The lead author of the new research, nuclear chemist Georg Steinhauser of the Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany, said that there are more than 1,300 of the atmospheric measurements are from all over the world, it turned out that between 250 to 400 terabecquerels of radioactive ruthenium-106 had been released at that time.

Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope of ruthenium, which means that there is a difference in the number of neutrons in the nucleus than in the naturally occurring element. The isotope can be produced as a by-product during the nuclear fission of uranium-235 atoms.

Even though the resulting cloud of nuclear radiation has been diluted enough that it does not cause any harm to the people of the total radioactivity was between 30 and 100 times the level of radiation released after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011, Steinhauser, told Live Science.

The study is published today (July 29) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ruthenium release

The effects of radiation in September, 2017 and was first discovered in central and eastern Europe, middle east, and the Arabian Peninsula, and even in the Caribbean.

The only radioactive ruthenium-106 a by-product of nuclear fission, with a half-life of 374 days, and was found to be in — the-cloud- Steinhauser said.

During the reprocessing of nuclear fuel as radioactive plutonium and uranium were separated from irradiated fuel assemblies of nuclear power plants — ruthenium-106 is usually separated and placed in long-term storage of other radioactive materials, by-products, ” he said.

This meant that a massive release of ruthenium can only come out of an accident at the nuclear fuel reprocessing, and the Mayak facility was one of the few places in the world that are engaged in this kind of clean-up, ” he said.

The advanced meteorological studies have been made as part of this research, it appears that the radiation cloud could only have come from the Mayak facility in Russia. “They have an in-depth analysis, and they are confined Mayak — there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

The accident came a little more than 60 years ago, a nuclear accident at Mayak in 1957 that caused one of the biggest releases of radiation into the history of the region, second only to the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. [The Nuclear Disaster In Chernobyl, 25 Years Later (Infographic)]

In 1957, an accident known as the Kyshtym disaster, after a nearby town, a tank of liquid radioactive waste at the Mayak facility, and it exploded, spreading radioactive fallout around the site, and is the cause of a fall-out plume of smoke that stretched for hundreds of miles.

The nuclear accident

The study found that, in 2017, in an accident at the Mayak was the most likely to be caused by a simple release of a radioactive gas, Steinhauser said. On the contrary, it is a fire or even an explosion that could have exposed workers at the plant to harmful levels of radiation, he added.

Russia has not acknowledged that there was an accident occurred at the Mayak facility, maybe it’s because the plutonium was made for nuclear weapons. However, Russia had established a committee to study the radioactive cloud, Steinhauser said.

The Russian commission has concluded that there is not enough evidence to determine whether or not a nuclear accident, who was responsible for ” the cloud.” But Steinhauser and his team are hoping that you can take a look at this to decide, in the light of new research.

“They have come to the conclusion that they need more data,” he said. “And so we feel like, ok, well, now you can get all of our information, but we would like to see yours as well.”

All of the information of the Russian federation in an accident at the Mayak facility would help the scientists to refine their research, rather than relying on the measurement of the radioactivity from all over the world, Steinhauser said.

An international team of scientists that are involved are very interested in learning more about the causes. “If anyone is concerned, we’re just about to shout for joy, because we have something to measure it,” he said. “It is our responsibility to learn from this accident. It is not the fault of Russia, but it is about learning our lessons,” he said.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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