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发布时间:2019-08-02 作者:admin 点击:71

Mysterious release of radioactive material uncovered放射性物质神秘泄露“浮出水面”

上海译锐翻译      2019-8-2     10:57 a.m.

It was the most serious release of radioactive material since Fukushima 2011, but the public took little notice of it: In September 2017, a slightly radioactive cloud moved across Europe. Now, a study has been published, analyzing more than 1300 measurements from all over Europe and other regions of the world to find out the cause of this incident. The result: it was not a reactor accident, but an accident in a nuclear reprocessing plant. The exact origin of the radioactivity is difficult to determine, but the data suggests a release site in the southern Urals. This is where the Russian nuclear facility Majak is located. The incident never caused any kind of health risks for the European population.



Radioactive material:放射性物质

Among the 70 experts from all over Europe who contributed data and expertise to the current study are Dieter Hainz and Dr. Paul Saey from the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics at TU Wien (Vienna). The data was evaluated by Prof. Georg Steinhauser from the University of Hanover (who is closely associated with the Atomic Institute) together with Dr. Olivier Masson from the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) in France. The team has now published the results of the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

在来自欧洲各地70位提供数据和专业知识的专家当中,Dieter Hainz和Paul Saey博士来自维也纳科技大学(维也纳)的原子和亚原子物理研究所。来自汉诺威大学(与原子研究所有紧密合作关系)的 Georg Steinhauser教授和来自法国的辐射防护和核安全研究所(IRSN)的Olivier Masson教授对研究数据展开评估。研究团队现在已将研究结果发表于《美国国家科学院院刊》(PNAS)。

Unusual Ruthenium Release


"We measured radioactive ruthenium-106," says Georg Steinhauser. "The measurements indicate the largest singular release of radioactivity from a civilian reprocessing plant." In autumn of 2017, a cloud of ruthenium-106 was measured in many European countries, with maximum values of 176 millibecquerels per cubic meter of air. The values were up to 100 times higher than the total concentrations measured in Europe after the Fukushima incident. The half-life of the radioactive isotope is 374 days.

Georg Steinhauser表示:“我们对放射性的钌-106进行了测量。测量结果表明,最大的单次辐射性泄露来自于民用再加工厂。2017年秋天,许多欧洲国家都测量出钌-106云团,其中每立方米空气中的最大值为176毫贝可勒尔。这个数值最高达到了福岛核泄漏以来欧洲所测量的总浓度的100倍。放射性同位素的半衰期为374天。”


Half-life:半衰期the time taken for the radioactivity of a substance to fall to half its original value

This type of release is very unusual. The fact that no radioactive substances other than ruthenium were measured is a clear indication that the source must have been a nuclear reprocessing plant.


The geographic extent of the ruthenium-106 cloud was also remarkable -- it was measured in large parts of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Ruthenium-106 was even found in the Caribbean. The data was compiled by an informal, international network of almost all European measuring stations. In total, 176 measuring stations from 29 countries were involved. In Austria, in addition to TU Wien, the AGES (Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety) also operates such stations, including the alpine observatory at Sonnblick at 3106m above sea level.


No Health Hazard


As unusual as the release may have been, the concentration of radioactive material has not reached levels that are harmful to human health anywhere in Europe. From the analysis of the data, a total release of about 250 to 400 terabecquerel of ruthenium-106 can be derived. To date, no state has assumed responsibility for this considerable release in the fall of 2017.

The evaluation of the concentration distribution pattern and atmospheric modelling suggests a release site in the southern Urals. This is where the Russian nuclear facility Majak is located. The Russian reprocessing plant had already been the scene of the second-largest nuclear release in history in September 1957 -- after Chernobyl and even larger than Fukushima. At that time, a tank containing liquid waste from plutonium production had exploded, causing massive contamination of the area.


assume responsibility:负责,承担责任

Olivier Masson and Georg Steinhauser can date the current release to the time between 25 September 2017, 6 p.m., and 26 September 2017 at noon -- almost exactly 60 years after the 1957 accident. "This time, however, it was a pulsed release that was over very quickly," says Professor Steinhauser. In contrast, the releases from Chernobyl or Fukushima lasted for days. "We were able to show that the accident occurred in the reprocessing of spent fuel elements, at a very advanced stage, shortly before the end of the process chain," says Georg Steinhauser. "Even though there is currently no official statement, we have a very good idea of what might have happened."

Olivier Masson和Georg Steinhauser估计此次泄露事故的发生时间在2017年9月25日下午6点到2017年9月26日中午期间-差不多正好是在1957年核事故发生后的60年后。Steinhauser教授表示:“此次属于脉冲式泄露,因此很快就结束了。”相反,切尔诺贝利或福岛的核泄漏则持续了数日。Georg Steinhauser教授表示:“我们能够表明,事故发生在废燃料元素的再加工阶段,属于非常后期,就在反应链快要结束时。即使目前没有任何官方声明,我们对于可能发生的情况已经有了非常清晰的了解”。

来源:科学日报   编辑:Susan