Russia denies radiation increase is linked to its nuclear plants

Authorities insists no leakages or faults detected following rise in radioactivity levels across northern Europe

The fourth block of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was destroyed in the 1986 disaster
(Image credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia has denied claims that an increase in radiation over northern Europe is the result of a leak at one of its power stations.

Nuclear watchdogs in Finland, Norway and Sweden last week reported “higher-than-usual” quantities of radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere across Scandinavia and in some Arctic regions, the BBC says.

Dutch researchers who analysed data from their Nordic neighbours said that the radiation appeared to originate “from the direction of western Russia” and could indicate “damage to a fuel element”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

But Russian nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom insists there are no problems at its two power plants in the country’s northwest.

Russian news agency Tass quoted a Rosenergoatom spokesperson who said that both plants - one near St Petersburg, and the other near the port city of Murmansk - were “working in normal regime”.

Radiation levels around the two power stations “have remained unchanged in June”, the spokesperson added.

The denial came after Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), tweeted on Friday that its Stockholm monitoring station had detected three isotopes - Cs-134, Cs-137 and Ru-103 - at higher than usual levels.

“These isotopes are most likely from a civil source,” he added.

See more

The Independent reports that “the low levels and particular isotopes detected in Scandinavia are not harmful either to humans or the environment”.

All the same, Deutsche Welle (DW) notes that painful “memories remain of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster”.

The explosion of the fourth reactor at a Soviet plant north of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv “polluted swathes of Europe and prompted control attempts by thousands of Soviet emergency personnel”, many of whom suffered fatal long-term illness as a result of radiation explosure, says the German newspaper.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.