Russia confirms spike in radioactive pollution, denies nuclear accident

The spike was detected in the Ural mountains by a Russian meteorological station 20 miles from the huge state-owned Mayak plant that reprocesses nuclear fuel and produces radioactive material for industrial and research purposes. The station Tuesday confirmed “extremely high pollution” of a radioactive isotope – 1,000 times more than the normal level – between September and October. This was the first official Russian data supporting French nuclear safety institute IRSN reports earlier this month of a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe. It was suggested that an accident had taken place at the nuclear facility either in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.

Neither Russia nor Kazakhstan has acknowledged any accident.  In a statement, the Mayak plant, which accounts for half of Russian exports of radioactive isotopes, denied it was the source of the increased level of the radioactive isotope ruthenium 106 which had caused the pollution.

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