The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not plan to carry out a probe into an extremely high concentration of a radioactive isotope, at nearly 1,000 times normal levels, that was registered in Russia's Chelyabinsk region last September as it does not have the authority to do so, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian foreign minister said.
© Reuters/Scanpix

Lithuania in late November 2017 send a note to the IAEA, asking it to investigate the incident.

According to Rasa Jakilaitienė, the agency replied in early December that it did not have the authority to perform such a probe, saying that the country of origin of the elevated radiation reading was now known and that nuclear safety was a national responsibility.

"The IAEA replied to Lithuania's note and said that it had asked 44 countries of the European region for information on the level of concentration of ruthenium 106 and whether there had been any incidents in their territories that could have caused a leak of ruthenium 106," the spokeswoman told BNS.

"All countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan, informed it that there had been no incidents in their territories as a result of which a noticeable concentration of ruthenium 106 had been detected in the air," she said.

Russia's meteorological service confirmed in late November that an extremely high concentration of ruthenium 106, which does not occur naturally, had been in late September recorded in several locations not far from the Mayak nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region.

Russia disclosed the information only after France's radiation safety and nuclear safety institute (IRSN) said on Nov. 9 that samples of air taken on Sept. 27 through Oct. 13 contained the radioactive isotope.

BNS
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