The Meteorological Service said yesterday that it had recorded the release of Ruthenium-106 in late September, classifying the incident as one of “extremely high contamination.”
It apparently contradicts claims from the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant, owned by Russian state nuclear company Rosatum, earlier this month that there had been no radiation leak from any of its facilities.
The Met Service now says it noted high levels of radiation, including in residential areas, near the Mayak plant, which was caught dumping waste in the Techa river in 2004 and in whose vicinity investigators in 2016 found rates of chromosomal abnormalities and cancers far higher than the Russian average.
Air samples taken over the town of Argayash, just 20 miles from Mayak, at the end of September had radiation levels 1,000 times higher than in previous months, the Met Service says.
But Mayak says it hasn’t extracted Ruthenium-106 from spent nuclear fuel “for several years.”
A joint US-Russian study by the Radiation Research Society of people living near the Techa river found higher regional rates of cancer of the uterus and oesophagus. But Russia’s Nuclear Safety Institute says Mayak poses no threat to locals.
Greenpeace is now petitioning the prosecutor-general’s office in Moscow for an investigation into “a possible concealment of a radiation accident.”