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Russians warn of radiation threat to Arctic

作者:过臬掾    发布时间:2019-03-07 10:13:14    

By Rob Edwards RADIOACTIVITY that leaked from two underground nuclear explosions in northern Siberia during the 1970s has still not been properly cleaned up and could contaminate the Arctic, according to Russian scientists. Between 1965 and 1988, the Soviet Union exploded 116 nuclear bombs to help mining, quarrying and oil production—17 of them near the Arctic Circle. Two blasts in what is now the Republic of Sakha accidentally released radioactivity into the atmosphere. The first, the 1.7 kiloton “Crystal”, exploded near Udachnyy in October 1974 and the second, the 19-kiloton “Craton-3”, near Aykhal in August 1978. Andrei Gedeonov of the V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute in St Petersburg says that surface levels of plutonium and caesium at both sites are “extremely high”. In surveys conducted in the early 1990s, he found that the average concentration of plutonium in lichen up to 1.5 kilometres from Craton-3 was 2.1 becquerels per gram—780 times higher than at uncontaminated sites nearby. Further down the water catchments in which the two sites lie, raised levels of plutonium in sediments suggest that the contamination could spread into rivers, Gedeonov told a conference last week in Edinburgh on radioactive pollution in the Arctic. At the same meeting, Vladimir Vasiliev of the Yakut International Centre for Development of the Northern Territories, Yakutsk, claimed that the pollution around Craton-3 and Crystal was comparable to that now found within 30 kilometres of the Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine. He warns that radioactivity could be carried into the River Lena,

 

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