That cloud of radiation story....

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Goatman, Nov 16, 2017.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Mods - here because it is NOT the D_M, it is current affairs and I couldn't find another thread already covering it. Feel free to re-locate if need be.

    A Radioactive Cloud Wafts Over Europe, With Russia as Chief Suspect

    This caught my eye - and I wondered why I hadn't already seen even a passing reference here on Arrse.

    So I checked the ever reliable broken Biscuit Corp...nada.

    Then I got to wondering....why is the New York Times splashing this a month after the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection and the Federal Ministry for the Environment released its findings?

    BfS - Press releases - Southern Urals probable source region of ruthenium-106 detected in Europe

    And for a rather geeky French take:

    Detection of Ruthenium 106 in France and in Europe: Results of IRSN’s investigations

    Clickbait? The thought crossed my mind - but rather elaborate.

    lemme see.....

    A) the notoriously Dem-Leaning NYT seeks to embarrass Trump in his connection with Putain ? If you read to the bottom of the story, what is actually says is ' Nothing to see here'

    B) Microsoft News pushes out the NYT story without any comment or further investigation? Seems a tad unlikely.

    C) the price of tinfoil hats is going through the roof.


    Ruthenium - Source

    A member of the platinum group, ruthenium occurs native with other members of the group in ores found in the Ural mountains and in North and South America. It is also found along with other platinum metals in small but commercial quantities in pentlandite in the Sudbury, Ontario nickel-mining region, and in the pyroxinite deposits of South Africa.
    Ruthenium is a hard, white metal and has four crystal modifications. It does not tarnish at room temperatures, but oxidizes explosively. It is attacked by halogens, hydroxides, etc. Ruthenium can be plated by electrodeposition or by thermal decomposition methods. The metal is one of the most effective hardeners for platinum and palladium, and is alloyed with these metals to make electrical contacts for severe wear resistance. A ruthenium-molybdenum alloy is said to be superconductive at 10.6 K. The corrosion resistance of titanium is improved a hundredfold by addition of 0.1% ruthenium. It is a versatile catalyst. Hydrogen sulfide can be split catalytically by light using an aqueous suspension of CdS particles loaded with ruthenium dioxide. It is thought this may have application to removal of H2S from oil refining and other industrial processes. Compounds in at least eight oxidation states have been found, but of these, the +2, +3, and +4 states are the most common. Ruthenium tetroxide, like osmium tetroxide, is highly toxic. In addition, it may explode. Ruthenium compounds show a marked resemblance to those of cadmium.

    Duty Chemical engineer is requested to the Bridge...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  2. Not everything is a vile Democrat conspiracy to embarrass Agent Orange - he's proved himself perfectly capable of doing that every time he opens his mouth or touches a computer
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  3. Sarastro

    Sarastro LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Sorry, you get a SAB for:

    a) Making this about US politics. What the ****?

    b) Failing to note or link any of the estimated levels released. At the epicentre (estimated IVO St Petersburg, apparently, of course the Russians refuse to admit anything) it's 0.016% of Fukyama, and 0.0026% of Chernobyl. If this was an intentional plot to poison Europe with radiation, it was planned by homeopaths.

    There is always a cloud of radioactivity around everything. What matters is how much.

    Detection of ruthenium 106 in the air in the east and southeast of Europe - Update of October 9, 2017

    Perhaps even the big news channels are competent enough to open a calculator app and work out that this is a non-story.

    PS Duty Physics graduate. Not chemical engineer.

    PPS Ruthenium and ruthenium-106 are not, in any way, the same thing. Here:

    Metal - Wikipedia
    Isotope - Wikipedia

    I have literally no idea why you bolded the bit you did about alloys. Is this just standard practice from watching too much Fox News? Pick a random sentence and emphasise it with a leading question and suspicious look? It's like me highlighting this from my post above:

    "Perhaps even the big news channels are competent enough to open a calculator app and work out that this is a non-story."

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
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  4. W P

    W P War Hero

    It's just a short, dry article summarising recent Russian goings-on, including several references to statements made a few days ago. It's not about the clown show that is American politics. No need for the flights of fancy.
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  5. Is it a non-story though?

    Ru-106 is not naturally occurring, so if there is a cloud of it, the origin of that cloud has to be a result of a nuclear event.
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  6. The IRSN news release that Goatman referenced gives details
    Detection of Ruthenium 106 in France and in Europe: Results of IRSN’s investigations

    Ruthenium 106 has been detected in late September by several European networks involved in the monitoring of atmospheric radioactive contamination, at levels of a few milliBecquerels per cubic meter of air. IRSN's investigations make it possible to provide information on the possible location of the source of the release as well as the order of magnitude of the quantities released.

    As soon as it became aware of the first detections of Ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere in Europe, IRSN mobilized all its means of radiological monitoring of the atmosphere and conducted regular analysis of the filters from its monitoring stations. For the period from September 27 to October 13, 2017, only the stations of Seyne-sur-Mer, Nice and Ajaccio revealed the presence of Ruthenium 106 in trace amounts. Since October 13, 2017, Ruthenium 106 is no longer detected in France.

    Measurement results from European stations communicated to the Institute since October 3, 2017, have confirmed the presence of Ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries. The results obtained for sampling periods later than October 6, 2017, showed a steady decrease in Ruthenium 106 levels, which is currently no longer detected in Europe.

    The concentration levels of Ruthenium 106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no consequence for human health and for the environment.

    Based on the meteorological conditions provided by Météo France and the measurement results available in European countries, IRSN carried out simulations to locate the release zone, to assess the quantity of ruthenium released, as well as the period and the duration of the release.

    The map below summarizes the results obtained and confirms that the most plausible zone of release lies between the Volga and the Urals without it being possible, with the available data, to specify the exact location of the point of release. Indeed, it is in this geographical area that the simulation of a ruthenium release makes it possible to better reproduce the measurements obtained in Europe.

    Map showing the plausibility of the origin of the release:

    For the most plausible zone of release, the quantity of Ruthenium 106 released estimated by IRSN simulations is very important, between 100 and 300 teraBecquerels. The release, accidental with regard to the quantity released, would have occurred during the last week of September 2017.

    Because of the quantities released, the consequences of an accident of this magnitude in France would have required to implement locally measures of protection of the populations on a radius of the order of a few kilometres around the location of the release.

    For foodstuffs, the exceeding of maximum permitted levels (1250 Bq/kg for Ruthenium 106 for non-milk products) would be observed over distances of the order of a few tens of kilometres around the location of the release.

    The possibility of exceeding maximum permitted levels near the accident site led IRSN to study the scenario of importing foodstuffs from this area. From this analysis, IRSN considers, on the one hand, that the probability of a scenario that would see the importation into France of foodstuffs (especially mushrooms) contaminated by Ruthenium 106 near the source of the release is extremely low and, on the other hand, the potential health risk associated with this scenario is also very low. It does not therefore appear necessary to introduce systematic controls on the contamination of imported foods.

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  7. Sarastro

    Sarastro LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Ok, fair. Yes, there has clearly been a small radiation leak in Russia. No, it is not at dangerous levels. No, it is not "secret nuke testing" or other balls. No, there is not a media cover-up of some health disaster.

    The OP was clearly driving for several of the latter.

    What kind of "nuclear event" that might be I'm not qualified to say, but I'd bet that at those levels there are a lot of fairly mundane answers that revolve around declining Russian nuclear stock, infrastructure or safety standards.
  8. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    And you, bro, get an SABC for not copying Item C above.

    I looked at this- and I also read the original sources.

    So, as I said the EDIT New York TIMES (my bad) story is essentially ' nothing to see here' - as I noted in my OP.

    Which you speed read and did not register.

    And , my observation is not so much about American Politics so much as why the BBC did not bother with a story which originated with the (internationally respected) AP agency, was picked up and scrutinised by one of the only two national US media outlets and then widely disseminated by the largest software company in the world.

    SABC? Nah, just an enquiring mind.

    Have you checked the military uses of Ruthenium ?

    I did, before I posted.

    Unlike you.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  9. Me neither, but based on:
    I would have to say, it looks like it should be level 4, which would make it a "nuclear accident" rather than a "nuclear incident".
  10. This is old news. Most sources say it "probably" originated in either Russia or Kazakhstan.
    Harmless radioactive cloud spread over Europe from Russia or Kazakhstan | News | DW | 10.11.2017
    Nuclear accident sends 'harmless' radioactive cloud over Europe
    The guess at the location depends upon a lot of assumptions, so the source could be somewhere else altogether.

    It appears to be a minor leak from either a medical isotope or fuel storage or processing facility, and not from a reactor.
    The Russians have said they don't know anything about it, and the Kazakhs haven't provided any answers.

    There's the possibility that it comes from a nuclear powered satellite (radio isotope decay) re-entering the atmosphere, but nobody has admitted to losing one of those in the right time frame. Then again, nobody has admitted to any of the other possibilities either.

    Chernobyl is a pretty obvious suspect. However, I was under the impression that this site was pretty heavily monitored, so somebody would probably have noticed.

    The most likely cause is a leak from a poorly maintained fuel facility. It's quite possible that the operators haven't noticed anything. For example, there's loads of abandoned nuclear related facilities in northern Kazakhstan dating from the Soviet era (Kazakhstan is still a very big uranium producer today). I'm not sure what might be in the corresponding relevant area of Russia, as the facilities that I've heard of are a good deal further north and so possibly out of the estimated source location. However, that estimate could be wrong about the origin.

    Chances are we'll never know.
  11. NSP

    NSP LE

    Have they got another iffy reactor...?
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  12. Time (OP) or Post? The NY Post is a Murdochian rag and the favoured read of Trumpty Dumpty.
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  13. Flight

    Flight LE Book Reviewer

    Non story in many ways..

    What form of nuclear accident or indeed process could result in Ruthenium being released though?

    You get the impression that it is the rarity of the isotope in isolation from others rather than the quantity which is the news..
  14. According to the news stories it isn't a power reactor, as it has the wrong combination of isotopes. It's likely a leak from storing or manufacturing medical isotopes.

    It's possible that it's from a satellite that re-entered the atmosphere, but the authors of the story aren't aware of a Ruthenium powered satellite that re-entered in the right time frame. Of course if someone has had an undeclared satellite that has been operating undetected for a while, they might decide to keep their mouths shut about it now for the same reasons they kept it secret in the first place. That opens the number of possible sources to the list of whomever operates high end spy satellites.

    So - not another Chernobyl (or Windscale), but possibly any of several other possibilities.
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  15. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    that's interesting - but fack all to do with my OP (Original Post) y'go...nice bit of misdirection, unlucky

    The New York Times
    By ALAN COWELL2 days ago

    the idea of the NYT being pro-Trump is definitely a giggle.