by Staff Writers
Helsinki (AFP) March 8, 2016
A "highly exceptional" surge in radioactivity detected over Finland's capital Helsinki was traced Tuesday to a company sharing a building with the headquarters of the nuclear regulator investigating the mystery.
In a bizarre twist, nuclear safety regulator STUK said in a statement that caesium-137, a radioactive isotope of caesium, had been tracked to the basement and garage of the very same building where it has its offices.
"In the same building there is also a company that deals with low-level radioactive waste," STUK said.
The agency downplayed the incident, saying the area affected was limited and had been quickly identified.
Tarja Ikaheimonen, head of radiation surveillance at STUK, had told AFP earlier that the surge had posed no danger to human health.
"The detection was highly exceptional but from a nuclear safety perspective, this level of caesium does not have any effect on human health," she said.
She said 4,000 microbecquerels of caesium-137 per cubic metre of air were detected between March 3 and 4 -- a thousand times more than usual but only one-millionth of a level that would require people to shelter themselves from the radiation.
One day later, on March 5, the amount of caesium was back to 12 microbecquerels per cubic metre of air.
"It means the level of radiation is down to a normal level," Ikaheimonen said.
The nuclear safety regulator had been baffled by the surge, saying earlier there was no obvious source for it as no accidents had been reported in Finland.
Measurements from its other detection spots around the country had not revealed similar anomalies during the same time period.
Radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine continues to be detected in Finland occasionally, when heavy winds lift radioactive particles from the ground into the air.
But Ikaheimonen had said last week's levels were too high to be explained by the old fallout.
Finland has two nuclear power stations with a total of four reactors, but neither had reported any anomalies.
Caesium-137 is used in certain types of industrial production, hospitals and research centres.
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|