France and Finland were the first to report that monitoring stations had collected small amounts of Iodine-131, which is radioactive and has a half-life of around 8 days.
Shortly after the release of this report by the Finnish government, Norway confirmed that the same radiation was found by their monitoring stations.
When asked why no press release was given, Norway insisted that the quantities of radiation were so small that they posed no threat to anyone.
Finland reported that the radiation level was 0,27 µBq/m3 in Rovaniemi and 0,3 µBq/m3 in Kotka. This is lower than the amounts found in Norway, but higher than what was observed in France.
Norway defended its decision not to make a media release by pointing out that anyone on the planet can access their system of 33 radiation monitoring stations.
But Where Did It Come From?
While it is reassuring to know that for now there is no danger to human health, the fact remains that there is a radiation leak somewhere way up north.
Some possible culprits include nuclear facilities in Finland, Sweden and Russia. There are also nuclear powered vessels that are active in Russia’s Kola Peninsula and the White Sea.
Astrid Liland, who is Head of section for emergency preparedness at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority can’t explain the origin of the radioactivity.
But she did comment to The Barents Observer by saying that, “It was rough weather in the period when the measurements were made, so we can’t trace the release back to a particular location. Measurements from several places in Europe might indicate it comes from Eastern Europe,”
In an interesting coincidence, just days after the press releases hit the wires, the “Constant Phoenix” was spotted at UK’s Mildenhall airbase.
The “Constant Phoenix”, or WC-135 is a modified Boeing C-130 that has been made to detect radiation, among other things. It is operated by the US Air Force, and flew to the UK from Florida.
There has been no official comment on its presence in Northern Europe, nor is there any proof that it is in the UK to look for radiation.
What we do know right now limited at best; there is radiation from an unknown source all over Northern Europe, and there is no threat to human health.
Let’s all hope there is nothing dangerous developing.