Graphic shows map of possible source region in the 72 hours preceding the detection of the radiation leak and timeline of events.


Russia denies its atomic plants are responsible for radiation leak

By Jordi Bou

June 29, 2020 - Russia has denied responsibility for a radiation leak detected in Northern Europe that Dutch officials say may “indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant”.

Nuclear safety watchdogs in Finland, Norway and Sweden said last week they had found higher-than-usual amounts of radioactive isotopes harmless to humans in the atmosphere.

On June 26 the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands said that the radionuclides (radioactive isotopes) came from the direction of Western Russia.

But Rosenergoatom, the power-plant subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned nuclear group Rosatom, has said that its two nuclear power plants in the north-west – the Leningrad NPP and the Kola NPP – are working normally and that no leaks have been reported.

Russia has a history of concealing radiation leaks. Most notoriously, Soviet authorities for weeks denied the true extent of the accident at Chernobyl in 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Western Russia has several nuclear facilities, including the vast Leningrad nuclear facility outside St Petersburg, which features four reactors of the same Soviet-era type as those at Chernobyl. Work is underway to upgrade the facility.

PUBLISHED: 29/06/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: RIA Novosti archive, image #305005 / Alexey Danichev / CC-BY-SA 3.0
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