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AFP
August 27, 2019

Radioactive isotopes released by missile test, says Russia

World

AFP
August 27, 2019

MOSCOW: Russia on Monday said radioactive isotopes were released in a recent accident at an Arctic missile test site that caused widespread alarm as authorities kept details under wraps.

The August 8 blast killed five scientists and caused a spike in radiation levels but for several days Russia did not admit nuclear materials were involved. The accident released swiftly decaying radioactive isotopes of strontium, barium and lanthanum, media reported, citing tests by the Rosgidromet national weather and environmental monitoring agency.

Alexander Uvarov, editor of the independent AtomInfo.ru news site, said the isotopes did not pose a threat to the population. These isotopes are products of nuclear fission of uranium, he told RIA Novosti news agency.

But Greenpeace Russia said the weather agency’s figures contradicted earlier statements from Rosatom, the national nuclear agency, adding there could be a health risk. It called on authorities to release full data on radioactive contamination in the area.

Sensors in the nearby city of Severodvinsk detected radioactive elements with a half-life ranging from a few hours to up to 12.8 days and break down into radioactive inert gases, Rosgidromet said.

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