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Bizarre Spike of Radiation Detected in Helsinki’s Air


Image credit: Jyrki Kymäläinen/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Recently an “unusually high amount” of radioactivity was detected over Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

It was confirmed by the officials from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) that 4,000 microbecquerels of the radioactive isotope caesium-137 per cubic meter of air had been detected by their rooftop air sampler in Helsinki. This was around 1,000 times the regular amount detected by their equipments.

It was quite strange that the radiation levels on the following two days were back to 12 microbecquerels per cubic meter of air, which was within the normal standard.

Caesium-137 was widely applied to the areas of medical devices and industrial processes as well as research centers. As large concentrated exposure to the isotope could lead to radiation sickness and even death, the authorities confirmed that levels were never high enough to have impact on human health.

Radiation was detected on a regular basis above Helsinki, according to the STUK, they were drifts from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant fallout over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away. But the sample just contained caesium-137, which implied such unusually high levels were not related to any form of nuclear reactor.

For a couple of days, the source was mysterious. However, the STUK had given an update, saying that the source was traced back to the garage in its own building, because there was a small radioactive waste treatment facility in their property complex. Now the facility had since been isolated and further investigations were carried out accordingly.

Main image credit: Jyrki Kymäläinen/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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