Airborne concentrations and chemical considerations of radioactive ruthenium from an undeclared major nuclear release in 2017

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Olivier Masson
  • Georg Steinhauser
  • Dorian Zok
  • Olivier Saunier
  • H. Angelov
  • Damir Babic
  • Vera Becková
  • Jacqueline Bieringer
  • Christopher Ian Burbidge
  • S. Conil
  • A. Dalheimer
  • L.-E. De Geer
  • A. de Vismes Ott
  • K. Eleftheriadis
  • S. Estier
  • H. Fischer
  • G. Garavaglia
  • C. Gasco Leonarte
  • K. Gorzkiewicz
  • D. Hainz
  • Ian Hoffman
  • M. Hýza
  • K. Isajenko
  • T. Karhunen
  • Johan Kastlander
  • C. Katzlberger
  • R. Kierepko
  • G.-J. Knetsch
  • J. Kövendiné Kónyiz
  • M. Lecomte
  • Jerzy W. Mietelski
  • P. Min
  • B. Møller
  • S.P. Nielsen
  • Jelena Nikolic
  • L. Nikolovska
  • I. Penev
  • B. Petrinec
  • P.P. Povinec
  • R. Querfeld
  • O. Raimondi
  • D. Ransby
  • W. Ringer
  • O. Romanenko
  • R. Rusconi
  • Paul R.J. Saey
  • V. Samsonov
  • B. Silobritiene
  • E. Simion
  • C. Söderström
  • M. Sostaric
  • T. Steinkopff
  • P. Steinmann
  • I. Sýkora
  • L. Tabachnyi
  • Dragana Todorovic
  • E. Tomankiewicz
  • Jochen Tschiersch
  • R. Tsibranski
  • M. Tzortzis
  • Kurt Ungar
  • A. Vidic
  • A. Weller
  • H. Wershofen
  • P. Zagyvai
  • T. Zalewska
  • Daniel Zapata-Garcia
  • B Zorko

Institutes & Expert groups

  • Leibniz Universität Hannover - Institut für Radioökologie und Strahlenschutz
  • INRNE - Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy
  • IMROH-IMI - Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health
  • NRPI - National Radiation Protection Institute
  • Bfs - Bundesamt Für Strahlenschutz - Federal Office for Radiation Protection
  • EPA – Environmental Protection Agency
  • ANDRA - National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management
  • IRSN - Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety - Institut Radioprotection Sûreté Nucléaire
  • FOI - Swedisch Defense Research Agency - Division of Defense and Security
  • University of Belgrade - Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences
  • PTB - Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
  • JSI - Jozef Stefan Institute

Documents & links



In October 2017, most European countries reported unique atmospheric detections of aerosol-bound radioruthenium (106Ru). The range of concentrations varied from some tenths of µBq·m−3 to more than 150 mBq·m−3. The widespread detection at such considerable (yet innocuous) levels suggested a considerable release. To compare activity reports of airborne 106Ru with different sampling periods, concentrations were reconstructed based on the most probable plume presence duration at each location. Based on airborne concentration spreading and chemical considerations, it is possible to assume that the release occurred in the Southern Urals region (Russian Federation). The 106Ru age was estimated to be about 2 years. It exhibited highly soluble and less soluble fractions in aqueous media, high radiopurity (lack of concomitant radionuclides), and volatility between 700 and 1,000 °C, thus suggesting a release at an advanced stage in the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. The amount and isotopic characteristics of the radioruthenium release may indicate a context with the production of a large 144Ce source for a neutrino experiment.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16750-16759
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2019


  • environmental radioactivity, ruthenium, nuclear forensics, environmental release, accidental release

ID: 5707087