Mysterious spike in radioactive particles across Europe baffles scientists

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
By Paul Martin

RT.com
10 Oct, 2017

Radiation monitors have detected radioactive particles in the air across Europe, although the source remains a mystery.
Germany’s Office for Radiation Protection reported increased radioactivity in parts of Central and Western Europe over the last week. The heightened levels were detected at several trace measuring stations in Europe, and at six locations in Germany.

The particles are ruthenium-106, an isotope used in cancer radiation therapy for eye tumors and at times in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) which provide power to satellites. An increase of ruthenium-106 has been detected in the air in Austria, France, Germany,

The particles are ruthenium-106, an isotope used in cancer radiation therapy for eye tumors and at times in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) which provide power to satellites. An increase of ruthenium-106 has been detected in the air in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

While officials say there’s no need to panic, they don’t know where the material has come from. The elevated radiation levels don’t present a threat to human health.

“New analyzes of the source of the radioactive material are likely to indicate a release in the southern Ural,” the Office for Radiation Protection said, “but other regions in Southern Russia can not be excluded.”

It said that because it’s only ruthenium-106 that has been detected, this rules out a nuclear power plant accident.

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