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Northern Europe detects high levels of radioactivity and suspected central…

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Northern Europe detects high levels of radioactivity and suspected central...

The Nordic authorities announced on Saturday that they had detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity in northern Europe this month, and the Netherlands could be able to deal with the malfunction of a Russian nuclear power plant.

The possibility was, however, rejected by a spokesman for Russian nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom, who said in a statement to Tass news agency that no problems had been reported.

Central Leningrad, near St. Petersburg, and Kola, near the northern city of Murmansk, “are operating normally, with radiation levels within the norms,” he added.

Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish nuclear safety watchdogs said this week they had detected small amounts of radioactive isotopes harmless to humans and the environment in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic.

The Swedish Radiological Safety Authority said on Tuesday it was not possible to “confirm the source of the increased levels” or the origin of a cloud containing radioactive isotopes that will be over the skies of northern Europe.

Finnish and Norwegian authorities also did not speculate on the possible source of altered levels of radioactivity, but the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and Environment said on Friday that data show that “radionuclides (radioactive isotopes) come from the direction of western Russia.”

“Radionuclides are artificial, that is, they were created by humans. The composition of the nuclides may indicate damage to a combustible element of a nuclear power plant,” the Dutch body said, adding that “the specific origin cannot be identified due to the limited number of measurements.”

Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Treaty for Total Nuclear Test Ban, said in a message released on Twitter on Friday that the organization’s radiation monitoring sensors in Sweden detected a slight increase in several harmless isotopes in northwest European airspace.

A spokesman for Russian operator Rosenergoatom, which was not identified in the news released today by Tass, said radiation levels at the Leningrad and Kola plants and adjacent areas “remained unchanged in June” and that “no change has been observed so far.”

“The two centers are working on a normal basis. There were no complaints about the performance of the equipment,” the same source said, adding that “no incidents of radionuclide release were reported out of containment structures.”

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