MOSCOW AFP Nov21, 2017 - Russia on Tuesday denied there had been an incident at any of its nuclear facilities after the country’s weather service reported radioactive pollution that exceeded background levels by 986 times.
A station close to the Mayak nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region detected “extremely high pollution” of the radioactive isotope Ru-106, Russian meteorologists said Monday.
But a representative of Rosatom nuclear corporation told AFP “there have been no incidents at nuclear infrastructure facilities in Russia,” adding that the concentration detected posed little threat.
The Mayak facility in the southern Urals, which is under Rosatom’s umbrella, also said the contamination “has nothing to do with Mayak’s activities”. The facility, which reprocesses nuclear fuel, said it has not produced Ru-106 for many years.
And it said the level detected “poses no danger to human health and lives” as it is 20,000 times smaller than the “allowed annual dose.” Mayak was the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history
in 1957. In what is known as the Kyshtym disaster, an explosion at Mayak broke a container holding radioactive waste, prompting the evacuation of nearly 13,000 people from the area.
Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor also said the levels registered by the weather service were safe, giving a different figure of “200 times below” a level that would be considered unacceptable.
The highest concentration registered by the weather service was near the town of Argayash located about 20 kilometres from Mayak, and Greenpeace on Monday pointed to the facility as the likely culprit.