Unknown Radioactivity Spike Detected Over Baltic Sea


“Radiation sensors in Stockholm have detected higher-than-usual but still harmless levels of isotopes produced by nuclear fission, probably from somewhere on or near the Baltic Sea, a body running a worldwide network of the sensors said on Friday,” Reuters reports.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) confirmed the higher than normal activity.

As Reuters reports , the Stockholm monitoring station “detected 3 isotopes; Cs-134, Cs-137 & Ru-103 associated with Nuclear fission at higher than usual levels,”

The additional particles were picked up by the sensors last Monday and Tuesday, and confirmed by the nuclear monitoring organization. 

Russian nuclear plant in Saint Petersburg, AFP via Getty. 

“These are certainly nuclear fission products, most likely from a civil source,” the CTBTO said in a statement. “We are able to indicate the likely region of the source, but it’s outside the CTBTO’s mandate to identify the exact origin.” 


    • Seems like lots of those going around.

      I’ve been trying to figure out a “light a fart” joke for the Iranian one and this one but haven’t come up with one yet.

  1. The Russians have been known to use radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) for remote unmanned instrument stations. I wonder if one got broken into /open.

    • Not an RTG. RTGs work by converting the heat of radioactive decay into a little bit of electricity. This stuff is the result of fission reactions – either a reactor or possibly a bomb. There are a bunch of finer science points to it that would let experts analyze it further and tell if it was one or the other but doesn’t sound like they’re doing that.
      The key piece missing from this report is “how much” ie what is the concentration of this stuff in the air? From the way it’s described, this is really low-level stuff but if nothing else comparing it to how much less is it that the plume that went over Europe after Chernobyl?

  2. Funny thing though, funny as unusual kind of not the laughing kind of funny… that plume in the story could easily be coming from St. Petersburg. A few years back we went on a Baltic cruise that stopped there and after the cruise I was amazed to learn that St. Petersburg still has an RBMK reactor site running (the same kind as the one that had the accident at Chernobyl, albeit with some lessons-learned safety upgrades)
    I would hope it’s not that, but if a plant was going to have an accident it would be worse at one of these RBMK ones since they don’t have a proper armored containment building over it.


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