Increased levels of radioactive isotopes of cobalt, ruthenium and caesium in the atmosphere were recorded during the week, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) reported on Friday (26 June). Soon after, similar findings were recorded in Sweden and Norway.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) also released a map featuring the increase of isotope levels in Finland, southern Sweden and Norway, Estonia and over the Baltic Sea.
Speculations about the leak’s source started immediately and eyes turned towards the East. Russia has two power stations in the north-west, the Kola NPP and the Leningrad NPP, and the Russian Arctic region also has old nuclear waste dumps.
However, the Russian state-controlled nuclear power operator, Rosenergoatom, was quick to deny any responsibility. The country’s power stations have been functioning normally and nothing out of the ordinary nor leaks had been detected, Rosenergoatom said in a statement delivered by news agency Tass.
Yet, other nuclear authorities were not convinced.
While the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment suggests the findings may be the result of damage to a fuel element in the nuclear plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed it has been asking for more information from several sources.
Authorities across the borders have confirmed that the isotope levels are not harmful to human health despite the higher levels of three isotopes – Cs-134, Cs-137 and Ru-103.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)