Nobody Is Sure What Caused a Mysterious Radiation Spike Across Europe


Image: MOTHERBOARD
Image: MOTHERBOARD
Some speculate a Russian nuclear test in the Arctic, but experts say a pharmaceutical facility could be responsible.

By Ben Sullivan | MOTHERBOARD

Nuclear scientists are struggling to determine the source of small amounts of nuclear radiation that bloomed over Europe throughout January.

France’s IRSN institute, the public body for radiological and nuclear risks, announced in a statement on February 13 that Iodine-131, a radionuclide of human origin, was detected in trace amounts at ground-level atmosphere in continental Europe. First detected in the second week of January over northern Norway, Iodine-131 presence was then detected over Finland, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, and Spain. However, the levels have since returned to normal and scientists have yet to determine the source of the radiation.

Norway’s Radiation protection Authority (NRPA), which first detected the Iodine-131 over its northern Russian border, told Motherboard over the phone today that the levels present essentially no risk to human health. „I can assure you that the levels are low,“ said a press a spokesperson.

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