The French newspaper Le Figaro published the results of its investigation into the possible release of radioactive ruthenium in the autumn of 2017. According to the newspaper, the increased background of the isotope may be associated with the implementation of the Mayak PA (Chelyabinsk Region, part of the Rosatom State Corporation) for a physical experiment. The enterprise confirmed the relevant studies on the production of a cerium-144 source, but stressed that "there is no connection with the experiments and the fact of detection of ruthenium before in the atmosphere".
The French newspaper Le Figaro published an article "Ruthenium: the scenario of the accident", in which she outlined the results of an investigation into the possible increase in the content of radioactive ruthenium recorded throughout Europe in the fall of 2017. The newspaper suggests that the cause of the ruthenium release was an accident at the Mayak PA during the execution of the contract for the production of a cerium-144 source for the Franco-Italian particle detector Borexino (located in Gran Sasso, Italy).
Recall, November 21 Roshydromet reported an increase in the content of radioisotope ruthenium in samples from the Chelyabinsk region in the period from September 25 to October 1. French scientists and Greenpeace Russia have come to the conclusion that Mayak may be the source of a possible release. In Rospotrebnadzor, having analyzed the data of Roshydromet, they reported that the content of ruthenium in the air "does not pose a threat to public health". In Rostekhnadzor they stated that they did not detect violations at the Mayak in October-November. Later, the Interdepartmental Commission, which included representatives of Rosatom, the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, the Institute for Nuclear Power Development of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also stated that the Rosatom company Mayak was not the source of a possible ruthenium release. Experts believe that the most probable reason for increasing the radiation background recorded by Roshydromet and European scientists is "satellite burnt in the atmosphere," but this version raises questions, the source of Kommersant in the space industry noted. Later, the Prosecutor General's Office found no reason to verify the activities of Rosatom, which Greenpeace Russia asked.
According to Le Figaro, experts from Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Russia gathered in Moscow on January 31, but could not determine the source of pollution. "However, the protocol of their meeting rejected the hypotheses put forward by Russia, the fall of a satellite or accident related to medicine. At the same time, the report recognizes that it can only be an incident involving the processing of a significant amount of spent and still very radioactive fuel, "the newspaper writes, emphasizing that in Russia only" Mayak "is the main center for such processing.
The newspaper claims that Mayak was engaged in the production of a cerium-144 source for an experiment in fundamental nuclear physics on the Franco-Italian particle detector Borexino.
"Mayak" became the only company that responded to our tender for the production of a radioactive source. And this is the only enterprise in the world capable of producing it, "says Thierry Lasserre of the Institute for the Study of Fundamental Laws of the Universe of the French Commissariat for Atomic Energy (CEA). "The source was to be delivered to the Gran Sasso in the spring of 2018, and then, after 18 months of use, sent back to Russia for final burial," adds Professor Marco Pallavicini of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). Le Figaro writes that the results of measurements of ruthenium contamination made in France "indicate that his tracks have a" signature "of the accident that occurred during the" process of processing relative fresh spent nuclear fuel, whose age does not exceed three to four years " as indicated in a recent IRSN report (the French Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Safety. "-" Kommersant ")." With reference to Professor Pallavicini, the publication states that in December 2017, Mayak informed the customers that it "will not be able to ensure the supply of a radioactive source." The official version: "the production process did not allow to achieve the required level of radioactivity".
Indeed, on December 12 last year, INFN published a press release stating that Mayak's representatives "encountered technical difficulties in providing the required scientific standards" and could not at that time produce the necessary amount of antineutrinos for the project. However, on February 1, the Institute announced the cancellation of the project due to the technical impossibility of conducting the experiment.
The press service of Mayak announced to Kommersant that the production association, based on cerium-144, intended to carry out basic research in the field of nuclear physics, is engaged in production association since 2012 under a contract with French specialists. "The technology for manufacturing such a source is a commercial secret of our enterprise, since in the process of developing this technology we had to execute a large complex of calculation and experimental and research works," the company emphasized. "In December 2017 preliminary results of this work in the form of a report were submitted by the French side. At present, the Mayak PA continues research work on the calculation and experimental justification of the technology for obtaining the required parameters of the source from cerium-144. " "There is no connection with the experiments on the development of the technology for the production of the cesium-144 source and the discovery of previously ruthenium-106 in the atmosphere," the Mayak press service said, noting that the enterprise does not process spent nuclear fuel with less than three years.