UN says source of Nordic radioactivity still unclear, as Russia eyed
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UN says source of Nordic radioactivity still unclear, as Russia eyed

Moscow has yet to report back to International Atomic Energy Agency over high concentration of isotopes recorded in Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic

The nuclear power plant Olkiluoto 3 'OL3' under construction next to OL2 and OL1 nuclear reactors in Eurajoki, southwestern Finland, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Antti Aimo-Koivisto)
The nuclear power plant Olkiluoto 3 'OL3' under construction next to OL2 and OL1 nuclear reactors in Eurajoki, southwestern Finland, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Antti Aimo-Koivisto)

BERLIN (AP) — The UN nuclear agency said slightly elevated levels of radioactivity that have been detected in northern Europe pose no risk to human health or to the environment, but that it’s still unclear what the cause was.

The Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish radiation and nuclear safety watchdogs said last week that they had spotted small amounts of radioactive isotopes in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general, Rafael Grossi, said in a statement late Monday that “the levels reported to the IAEA are very low and pose no risk to human health and the environment.”

The Vienna-based agency contacted European countries on Saturday to request information. It said that, by Monday afternoon, 29 had voluntarily reported that nothing had happened on their territory that might have caused the concentrations of isotopes in the air. A few countries outside Europe reported similar findings.

Russia wasn’t on the list of countries that had reported back to the IAEA by Monday.

“I expect more member states to provide relevant information and data to us, and we will continue to inform the public,” Grossi said.

Possible source region (in orange) of slightly higher than usual levels of radioactivity in Europe, as tweeted June 26, 2020 by Lassino Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (via Twitter)

The Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said Friday the isotopes may be from a source in Russia and “may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant.”

Russia’s state nuclear power operator, however, said the two nuclear power plants in northwestern Russia haven’t reported any problems.

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