Mysterious spike in radioactivity over Europe ‘could come from Russia’

Mysterious spike in radioactivity over Europe ‘could come from Russia’

It’s not thought to be harmful to health – but researchers in Germany now believe the isotope Ruthenium-106 is coming from Russia.

‘Since only ruthenium-106 has been detected, an accident in a nuclear power plant can be excluded as a cause.

‘With this small amount of radioactivity there is no health hazard to the population.’


The Independent UK:

Rise in radioactivity across Europe puzzles scientists

Deutsche Welle:

Spike in radioactivity measured in Germany, other European countries

Since September 29, a slight increase in the isotope Ruthenium-106 has been measured in the air in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France.

Among other things, Ruthenium-106 is used for chemotherapy to treat eye tumors. It is also occasionally used in so-called radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), which provide power to satellites. It's one of the more stable, least dangerous, ruthenium isotopes.

It is even covered by Russia Today:

Mysterious spike in radioactive particles across Europe baffles scientists

The Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, however, rejected the report, saying that “the radiation situation around all Russian nuclear facilities is within the norm and corresponds to natural background radiation.”

The Wednesday statement also noted the data of Roshydromet ,Russia’s meteorology service, indicated that ruthenium-106 hasn’t been detected on Russian territory, only excluding St. Petersburg, from September 25 to October 7. However, the ruthenium-106 concentration in St. Petersburg last week was “insignificant,” and was four times lower than the allowed level, it added.

Russian nuclear facilities cannot be seen as the source of the reported release, Rosatom said, calling the speculation about a Russian origin “invalid.”

One possibility is this is a satellite which burnt up on reentry (speculative).

Well, whose fault is that? Russia's.

While everyone seems to have a theory, i guess what you really need to ask is, if someone put it there, for what reason did they do so?

I feel like we're back at the cold war, where everything is blamed on Russia.

One possibility is this is a satellite which burnt up on reentry (speculative).


From Soviet Ukraine, you mean.

A dispersal test? Testing for the future in case they decide they need to release a dangerous amount/type?

Widespread election meddling shouldn't be something we politicize - it is a threat to our stability and not something we should be okay with. It is also not normal - not to the degree people are speculating.

Evidence wise - there is a shit ton of circumstantial evidence: we've got all sorts of government and public intelligence groups claiming Russian interference, tons of analysis of social media behavior that appears to be coming from Russia, tweets geo tagged as Russian attempting to organize alt right and far left violence, advertising companies claiming they took Russian money accidentally for political ads, etc. The list goes on and on. I mean Trumps campaign keeps getting outed again and again for having meetings with the Russians, despite constant denials.

Obviously, we don't have the full picture yet and there are multiple ongoing investigations that we need to wait for - however, everything so far points to significant Russian interference on both the left and the right - and really the only group vehemently denying it is the Trump cult, because they fear Trump is illegitimate. Everyone else is in wait and see mode and just wants to prevent Russia from further interference - I mean next time it could easily be an extremist candidate on the left that Russia supports, or another country could dump money into the US election - like China.

The ex-Soviet Union has had a history of loose RTGs floating around after the breakup.

December 2001 – Three lumberjacks in the nation of Georgia found two warm canisters near their camp and spent the night beside them. The canisters were discarded and unshielded heat sources from Soviet radioisotope thermoelectric generators, containing 30 kCi (1.1 PBq) of 90Sr each.[45] The lumberjacks started showing symptoms of radiation sickness within hours, and were subsequently hospitalized with severe radiation burns.[46] The disposal team consisted of 25 men who were restricted to 40 seconds' worth of exposure each while transferring the canisters to lead-lined drums.

2003 – Cape of Navarin, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia. A radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) located on the Arctic shore was discovered in a highly degraded state. The exposure rate at the generator surface was as high as 15 R/h; in July 2004 a second inspection of the same RTG showed that gamma radiation emission had risen to 87 R/h and that 90Sr had begun to leak into the environment.[49] In November 2003, a completely dismantled RTG located on the island of Yuzhny Goryachinsky in the Kola Bay was found. The generator's radioactive heat source was found on the ground near the shoreline in the northern part of the island.[49]

(Someone probably tried breaking it open for scrap, irradiated themselves.)

Two abandoned and potentially dangerous radioactive devices have been successfully secured in the first three days of a new effort to trace lost radioactive sources in Georgia. Such abandoned sources are known as orphan sources...A Georgian Ministry of Environment and IAEA team, scouring the isolated alpine region of Racha, found a powerful source in a pile of dirt on the floor of a derelict factory. The team also found a second smaller source inside a house - in a tin of nuts and bolts above a work bench. Just a thin, wooden wall separated the source from the family bedroom....A legacy of Georgia´s sharp economic decline after the break-up of the Soviet Union was a loss of control of radioactive sources used in industry. The collection and sale of scrap metal from abandoned factories has also provided a means of livelihood and some orphan sources have been found in shipments of scrap. Many orphan sources have also been found on former military bases.

Not sure whether someone melting down an RTG's radiation source might produce a release of radioactive particles as seen here.


And all these folks just saying where they're detecting it.

Russia is known to play games like this. Testing response times and such. They do it so frequently, that the US is supposedly artificially slowing their responses. It'd be insane if they tried it with nuclear waste though.

It came from the direction of Eastern Europe.

Wanna play a game and list all the countries to the direct east of Europe?


No, what happened is that the KGB class managed to get control of Russia in the 1990s and pillaged it for its wealth.

Russia wanted to join NATO in the 90s and was rejected.

It could also be the opposite. The russians launching a satellite that exploded on launch due to rocket failure (not too rare, albeit uncommon).

Since they didn't make it public. It's probably a spy satellite.

Ongoing investigations don't present evidence to the public.

However, there is a laundry list of circumstantial evidence - so much in fact that it is a real pain to compile it all - however this is a good source:

Re Facebook - the amount doesn't matter. The fact that it is coming from a foreign country, highly target, and clearly meant to influence US politics is the issue. I mean, who knows if $100k is all they spent and what platforms they used. Also, how does comparing foreign ad spend on domestic elections to domestic spending on domestic elections at all valid. I mean, all the (legal) dark money supporting Trump really ads up as well.

The overall issue is - Russia loves to test boundaries (look at their military and how it probes air, sea, and land borders) and takes what they can. Even if Russia only influenced the last election cycle a tiny bit, if we don't respond they will attempt to influence our next election even more, and so on - and, it really isn't in their best interest for the US to be stable and powerful, so they aren't about to keep supporting the same side over and over again (I mean, they've already made Trump look like a moron multiple times by leaking the pictures of Russians invited into the oval office and the Trump Jr Russia meeting).

You can't launch a satellite so secretly that nobody would note it, it takes days to weeks of preparation and even it can be done quickly, it's always that NOTAMS are given out on the date something can be launched.

Somebody probably did notice it, i'm sure the military is well aware of everything launching in space. Just like they knew North Korea was launching missiles as soon as they were in the air.

But are they informing the public? As far as they care the Russians might have just been conducting military exercises, something well within their right to do in their own territory. Unless there is direct public safety issue it would be in the military's best interest not to make public what they know or what the russians are doing for it reveals how they know.

It could be a secret launch insofar that the Russian military won't bother to broadcast. "EVERYONE, WE JUST LAUNCHED A SPY SATELLITE!!!"

It wouldn't be the first time Russia irradiated everybody.

Sooo... a Satellite exploding on re-entry?

Can we repeat ourselves three or four times to disguise the fact that we know almost nothing?

Could be a possibility given that is a possible source (thermoelectric usage in satellites from article in summary comment).