The Greek Atomic Energy Commission (EEAE) announced on Tuesday that in the period September 27 – October 5, 2017, small quantities of radioactivity were detected in the atmosphere at Athens. The isotope detected is ruthenium-106 (Ru-106).
According to the measurements performed by EEAE and the network of collaborating laboratories, traces of Ru-106 were detected in the atmosphere at very low concentrations (<5 mBq / m3).
These concentrations levels do not pose risk to health or the environment, and no protection measures are required.
The data are communicated to the Incident and Emergency Centre of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Sample measurements are ongoing and the results will be announced.
Similar findings have been reported by other countries, e.g. Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Austria, Slovenia. The abnormal radioactivity detection, although not of concern from radiation protection point of view, requires further investigation for the identification of the source of origin.
1. The radioactivity levels in the air of the country are systematically monitored through the national telemetric network, which operates since 2000. The measurements results are available at EEAE website; access to the monitoring results of other European countries is also available to the public through the European network EURDEP.
2. In the framework of the environmental radioactivity monitoring and in accordance with the national emergency response plans, EEAE is assisted by a Network of Collaborating Laboratories. – EEAE statement here
Last time radioactivity particles were detected in the atmosphere over Greece was in 2011, a couple of days after the accident in Fukusima reactor, Japan.
Speaking to capital.gr, EEAE spokeswoman Vasiliki Tafili said that the current detection of ruthenium-106 is in no way associated with leakage from a nuclear power because also other radioactive elements would have been detected too. She refused to speculate about the source of radioactivity saying investigation is continuing.