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Russia’s National Weather Service attributes gamma-ray spike outside Arkhangelsk to decaying radioactive isotopes

Russia’s National Weather Service has attributed the radiation spike recorded in Severodvinsk on August 8 to decaying strontium, barium, and lanthanum radioactive isotopes. Analyzing local air and rain samples between August 8 to 23, Roshydromet found traces of the short half-life radioisotopes strontium, barium, and lanthanum. Their decay releases radioactive noble gases, which is reportedly what caused radiation levels in Severodvinsk to spike.

“At present, the samples […] in Severodvinsk and Arkhangelsk show no signs of man-made radionuclides, and the radiation environment has stabilized,” Roshydromet announced on August 26.

According to state reports, a missile exploded at a testing site outside Severodvinsk on August 8. The rocket’s engine’s power source supposedly used a radioactive isotope. At least five people were killed in the explosion.

The victims in the explosion were taken to hospitals in Arkhangelsk, where the radioactive nuclide cesium-137 was later detected in the body of one of the doctors (who was told that he probably just “ate some Fukushima crabs”). Sources have confirmed to Meduza that none of the responding rescue workers or physicians were warned that they were treating irradiated patients.

After the explosion, four Russian monitoring stations designed to detect nuclear radiation suddenly went silent. Two of these stations have since come back online.