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Greenpeace rejects burnt satellite version behind ruthenium discharge as ‘fantastic’

December 08, 2017, 16:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

If the commission comes to this conclusion, it should at least say what this satellite is, Coordinator of the Greenpeace Russia Anti-Nuclear Program Rashid Alimov said

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© Grigoriy Sysoev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. The version of a burnt satellite as the cause of increased ruthenium-106 levels in Russia and Europe looks doubtful, Coordinator of the Greenpeace Russia Anti-Nuclear Program Rashid Alimov told Govorit Moskva (Voice of Moscow) radio station on Friday.

"As for satellites, we believe that this scenario is hardly probable: if the commission comes to this conclusion, it should at least say what this satellite is. In principle, the fantastic version with the satellite was mentioned from the very first days but we have not received any information confirming this," Alimov said.

Deputy Director of the Institute for the Safe Development of Nuclear Power Engineering within the Russian Academy of Sciences Rafael Arutyunyan said on Friday that an artificial satellite, which had burnt in the atmosphere, was considered as a priority version of the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 discharge.

Arutyunyan also said the institute had come up with an initiative to set up an international commission to probe the causes of increased ruthenium-106 levels and their consequences for the health of people.

Ruthenium-106 discharge

Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) earlier reported about an increased concentration of ruthenium-106 in the air from September 29 to October 3. The BfS noted that the ruthenium concentration was very inconsiderable and posed no danger for the health of people. German specialists also said they were confident that no nuclear power accident could have been the cause for the increased concentration of ruthenium-106. Later, the BfS reported that a discharge at one of enterprises in the south Urals could have been the source of the isotope.

Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet) earlier reported about excessive ruthenium isotope levels in the samples collected from the observation posts of Argayash and Novogorny in the Chelyabinsk Region.

Ruthenium-106 is used, in particular, in radiation therapy and can also be released in nuclear fuel reprocessing.

Russia’s civil nuclear power corporation Rosatom earlier reported that no traces of ruthenium-106 were detected in the air samples taken on the territory of Russia, except for the only measuring station located in St. Petersburg. Rosatom said Russian nuclear power facilities could not be considered as the source of the isotope’s discharge. Rosatom cited the data of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), pursuant to which the ruthenium-106 concentration reached 145,000 microbecquerels per cubic meter in Romania, 54,300 microbecquerels per cubic meter in Italy, 40,000 and 37,000 microbecquerels per cubic meter in Ukraine and Slovenia, respectively, over that period.

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