Weeks after a French nuclear watchdog reported unusually high levels of specific nuclear isotopes in the atmosphere over Europe, the Russian meteorological service released a statement that seems to support their findings.
Earlier this month, the French Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) released reports of unusually high levels of ruthenium-106 in the air over Europe. That isotope is not naturally occurring, and can only be created by splitting atoms inside a nuclear reactor. That specific isotope has a particularly short half-life, and is not believed to be present any health risks to the European populous, though IRSN reported that wherever the leak originated would undoubtedly have faced an emergency of significant proportion at the time of the leak. According to their models, the breach must have occurred near the end of September.
Russia denied knowledge of any radioactive breach upon the report’s release, though IRSN believes the source of the leak must have been somewhere between the Ural Mountains in the north and the Volga River in the south, meaning the source of the radiation must be in either Russia or northern Kazakhstan.
A new report released by Roshydromet, Russia’s state owned weather service, corroborated those findings to an extent, per a statement released on Tuesday. According to Roshydromet, Russian researchers found “extremely high pollution” of ruthenium 106 in samples collected in two different research stations in the Southern Ural Mountains. One of the samples was collected in late September and the other in early October.