The release of ruthenium in 2017 was not related to the production of weapons-grade plutonium

The release of ruthenium, recorded by European scholars in the fall of 2017, may not be associated with the production of weapons-grade plutonium: the isotopic composition of particles deposited on air filters during emission does not match the isotopic signature of this process. The authors of a study published in the journal Nature Communications, came to the conclusion that the emission occurred in the processing of spent nuclear fuel from the reactor ofn design VVER-440.

In September and October 2017 European stations radiation monitoring fixed radioactive cloud containing fission products 106and traces EN 103EN. Scientists have estimated the amount of emissions of 2.5×1014 Becquerels, and as a possible source called the FSUE “PO “Mayak”, as atmospheric modelling has indicated the occurrence of clouds in the southern Urals. According to the data, voiced at the press-conference of the IAEA, no country has claimed responsibility for the incident nuclear incident and did not report on the event which could be the cause. Information service of FSUE “PO “Mayak” denied the involvement of the enterprise to the incident, and the state Corporation “Rosatom” statedthat the reason for the outlier could be a falling space satellite.

Timo Hoppe (Timo Hopp) at the University of Munster and his colleagues have tried to determine the source of the emission of ruthenium, based on the isotopic composition caught by the air filters of particles. Scientists note that the isotopic signature of the emission of ruthenium corresponds to the young of spent nuclear fuel (SNF), which was extracted from the reactor is not more than 1.5-2 years ago and it is still not strong burned under the action of the decay components. However, the low level of fuel burn-up can point to and use in the production of weapons-grade plutonium (which must contain at least 94 percent of the isotope 239Pu), because the high degree of burnout in the fuel accumulates 240Pu, which creates a high neutron background and to the establishment of effective nuclear weapons.

Scientists have found the origin of a radioactive method ICP-MS analysis of the isotopic composition of samples environmental particulates deposited on the air filters on the Vienna monitoring stations before, during, and after the arrival of a radioactive cloud over Europe in the fall of 2017.

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