Nuclear Scientists Are Setting Up a Commission to Find Out Ruthenium-106 Source of Origin

Nuclear scientists are setting up a commission to find out ruthenium-106 source of origin, which was detected by European and Russian environmental monitoring systems in the atmosphere.

Since the Russian and European public as well as mass media have raised a straightforward issue to find out ruthenium-106 source of origin, which was detected in the atmosphere of a number of states, the scientists have proposed to set up an independent commission.

Noting that ruthenium-106 levels in the atmosphere recorded late September – early October were several orders lower (up to 10,000 times) than permitted volumes, i.e. absolutely safe for the people and the environment, IBRAE RAS and the Russian National Commission for Protection against Radiation Risk, however, have come up with the initiative to set up the independent team of scientists who could establish the truth about emergence of this radionuclide.

To remind, at first, the European environmental monitoring serviced detected traces of radioactive ruthenium-106 in the air. Then, similar results were obtained in the territory of Russia. 

Ruthenium-106 does not occur in nature; it is produced for the use in medicine (production in Russia is 0.1 curie a year) as well as for radioisotope sources of energy (independent power sources for marine navigation beacons or small artificial Earth satellites). In other words, its emergence in the atmosphere may be explained by man-made origin only. 

Earlier, ROSATOM confirmed that all nuclear facilities of Russia, including nuclear power units as well as nuclear weapons complex’s enterprises, have operated and are operating routinely. No radiation incidents at the facilities of the nuclear sector have been reported and recorded. Radiation level around all nuclear industry facilities of the Russian Federation has been monitored continuously and is within limits of the multi-year natural values, and corresponds to the natural background level. The lack of linkage between emergence of ruthenium-106 and activities of Russian nuclear enterprises has been confirmed by all necessary external and internal inspections. 

However, the scientific and ecological communities, members of parliament and mass media are interested in finding out causes of how this isotope got in the atmosphere of the Earth. The commission will include representatives of Russian and European scientific organizations, regulatory bodies, and nuclear specialists who have necessary competences and research capabilities. The commission must reanalyze primary environmental monitoring data, create and verify necessary computer models that reconstruct spread and movements of air masses. If necessary, it will conduct additional studies and checks. 

By now, the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE RAS) has already agreed to coordinate the activities to set up the commission. On its part, ROSATOM will provide all necessary assistance to the commission and will keep the public informed about results.

Source: Rosatom
Date: Nov 24, 2017