[ RadSafe ] Europe’s radiation cloud is not harmless, if you happen to be near the source

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Mon Nov 13 06:33:26 CST 2017

Arnie Gundersen is now masquerading as a "nuclear expert" opining on
Ruthenium release in Europe.

Roger Helbig

Europe’s radiation cloud is not harmless, if you happen to be near the source

by Christina MacPherson

Radiation Cloud Over Europe, Not ‘Harmless’ to Those near Unknown
Source, Nuclear Expert Says
bureau EnviroNews World News ,by Emerson Urry , November 11, 2017
—An airborne plume of radioactive ruthenium 106 from a nuclear
accident was detected “in the atmosphere of the majority of European
countries,” from late September through mid-October, according to
France’s Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) — but the
source is still unknown. As of November 10, 2017, the manmade element
has been identified in at least 28 countries.

While many news agencies are calling the cloud “harmless” and
reporting the good news — that radiation levels are low and that no
health consequences have been observed — radiation experts tell
EnviroNews the scene may not be so peachy at ground zero where the
release occurred. The question is: where exactly is ground zero?In a
report, the IRSN used wind and weather patterns, coupled with readouts
from radiation monitoring stations throughout Europe, to deduce the
“most plausible zone of release lies between the [Volga River] and the
[Ural Mountains].” According to NPR, Jean-Christophe Gariel, Director
for Health at the IRSN, said, the plume “has been traced to somewhere
along the Russia-Kazakhstan border.”

“Russian authorities have said they are not aware of an accident on
their territory,” Jean-Marc Peres, Director at the IRSN, told Reuters,
adding that he had not yet been in contact with Kazakh officials.

“Whoever released it ain’t talking,” said nuclear expert and
whistleblower Arnie Gundersen to EnviroNews, in an email interview.
“It’s kind of like passing gas in church. Everybody knows it happened
but no one is admitting to be the source!” Gundersen, of Fairewinds
Associates, is a nuclear engineer and former nuclear power plant
operator, who was also CNN‘s on-air expert during the three-reactor
meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.

What is known is that the release did not emanate from a nuclear power
reactor meltdown. If that were the case, the cloud would have been
loaded with many other radionuclides generated during meltdowns. The
IRSN said the release likely came from a “nuclear fuel treatment site
or centre for radioactive medicine,” according to Reuters.

The IRSN also wrote in its report, “there has been no impact on human
health or the environment,” and many news agencies have since
regurgitated this assertion in their reporting. But this is a
difficult statement. The gestation period for the carcinogenic and
mutagenic health consequences from even low-level radiation exposure
is very long, and medical maladies may take decades to unfurl. The
effects of exposure to ionizing radiation can also be
multigenerational, deforming the genes of unborn children and
grandchildren, predisposing them to medical conditions before they are

According to Gundersen, what the IRSN failed to mention in its report,
is that while radiation levels over Europe may be “very low,” that may
not be the case near the mystery facility where the accident occurred.
“The ruthenium 106 concentrations at the detectors in Europe are
[quite] low and these are very sensitive detectors,” Gundersen
explained to EnviroNews. “That said, the concentration near the
release point is likely quite high, and is not ‘harmless’ to those who
are close by. That is why pinpointing the location of the release is
so important,” Gundersen continued. The esteemed industry expert also
noted that the readings in the INRS report “are from mid-October” and
that those releases are “supposedly over now.”

NPR concurred with Gundersen’s assessment, reporting, “modeling
suggests that any people within a few kilometers of the release —
wherever it occurred — would have needed to seek shelter to protect
themselves from possible radiation exposure.” The IRSN also added that
if a similar incident would have occurred within French borders, it
would have required evacuation for an area with a radius of several

As EnviroNews has reported in the past, air pollution concentrates
most abundantly near its source. In the case of heavy metals and
radioactive isotopes, larger particles with more mass, fall out faster
and closer to the point of origin, whereas smaller particles can be
carried on wind currents for hundreds or thousands or miles, falling
to Earth wherever wind and precipitation carry them. The smaller and
more vaporous the particle, the farther it can fly. Myriad finely
disintegrated radioactive isotopes from both Chernobyl and Fukushima
circled the globe for weeks following those accidents, and it has been
stated by experts that to varying degrees, virtually every person on
Earth has a piece of Fukushima and Chernobyl lodged inside them. Most
human bodies also harbor the radioactive footprint from bomb testing —
radiation that is still falling out and blowing around to this day.

Ruthenium 106 is a transuranic isotope created in nuclear reactors.
The element is not present in nature. It has a half-life of 373 days,
meaning it takes about 10 years for it to decay away after it is born
as a byproduct of the nuclear fission process.

“It’s an unusual isotope,” Anders Ringbom, Research Director of the
Swedish Defence Research Agency, told NPR. “I don’t think we have seen
it since the Chernobyl accident.” The Swedish Defence Research Agency
is the organization that conducts radiation monitoring for that

Multiple nuclear facilities exist in the region in question, the most
noteworthy of which is the massive Mayak Production Association — a
plant used extensively during the Cold War to recondition nuclear fuel
into bomb material. Mayak has raised eyebrows because the site has
been the source of multiple past disasters, including a massive
explosion in 1957 “that rivaled the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima and
Chernobyl,” according to NPR. Still, Russian authorities are yet to
acknowledge any accidental releases within their borders.

If the Russians aren’t owning the accident and the Kazakhs aren’t
talking, the question is: what’s next? Gundersen pointed out the
imperative task of locating the source of the incident. It would seem
that only then can an assessment be made of the true “impact on human
health or the environment.”

More information about the RadSafe mailing list