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Mystery Radiation Detected 'Across Europe'http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-rad...cted-across-europe-152226180.html
The hunt is on for the source of low level radiation detected in the atmosphere "across Europe" over the past several days, nuclear officials said today.
Trace amounts of iodine-131, a type of radiation created during the operation of nuclear reactors or in the detonation of a nuclear weapon, were detected by the Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety starting two weeks ago. After the group reported its findings to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Agency released a statement today revealing similar detections had been made "in other locations across Europe."
The IAEA said the current levels of iodine-131 are not high enough to warrant a public health risk, but the agency still does not know the origin of the apparent leak and an official with the agency would not say where exactly it has been detected outside the Czech Republic.
The IAEA said it does not believe the radiation was left over from the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in March and the Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety could only say the source was "likely outside the territory of the [Czech] Republic."
"Anywhere spent nuclear fuel is handled, there is a chance that... iodine-131 will escape into the environment," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says on its website.
According to the EPA, iodine-131 can get into the environment after leaking from cracked fuel rods in nuclear plants and, when ingested in higher doses, can lead to thyroid problems. This particular type of radiation is relatively short-lived, with an estimated half-life of about eight days.
Websites called 'conspiracy' have warned the world that the BAD radiation
from the Japan nuclear reactor meltdown March 2011 has been circling the earth -
poisoning oceans and the air round the world - so this is no surprise.
Radioactive Iodine Blankets Much of Europe … Everyone Points Fingers
Monday, November 14, 2011
Reuters notes that elevated levels of radioactive iodine have been detected in Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
The Stockholm News reports that Denmark and Poland are also experiencing heightened radiation.
NHK notes that Russia has been hit as well.
AP notes that the radioactive releases are ongoing:
An official [from the International Atomic Energy Agency] familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, said the release appeared to be continuing.
Some scientists have made some unlikely claims about the source of the radiation. For example, as Reuters notes:
Professor Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at Britain’s Royal Berkshire Hospital, said any link with Fukushima was extremely unlikely.
“It is far more likely that the iodine may be as a result of excretion by patients undergoing medical treatment. Whilst such patients are carefully controlled, some release of iodine into the environment may be inevitable but would certainly be well below any limits where health detriment would even begin to be an issue for concern,” he said.
(It is unlikely that patients in so many countries would all start excreting more radioactive iodine at the same time.)
The Czechs deny responsibility, but are sending mixed signals. As AP notes:
In Prague, an official at the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety said he was “100 percent sure” that the radiation had not come from any Czech nuclear power plant — or from any other source on Czech territory.
[However,] speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media, the official said tests are under way around the country to try and identify the source.
The Czechs are betting heavily on nuclear power and have plans to dramatically increase production ….
Poland is trying to blame Pakistan for the radiation; but a Pakistan government official denies the allegation.
All of the mainstream commentators dismiss Fukushima as a potential source. However, Fukushima is still far from any stable shutdown – and is still apparently undergoing nuclear reactions (and see this, thisand this).
So – while we don’t have any idea where the radiation is coming from at this point – it is too early to rule out Fukushima.