Russia says it's not obliged to share radiation levels data

Elias Hubbard
August 20, 2019

Four of the stations that scan for so-called radionuclide particles wafting through the air for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) went silent in the days after the August 8 explosion, which occurred during a rocket engine test.

Lassina Zebro, the organization's executive secretary, said Tuesday on Twitter that the two Russian stations that were reported to be offline are back in operation and they are now backfilling the data.

Bilibino is one of the four stations that the Vienna-based CTBTO said on Monday had gone offline in the days after the explosion, though it is in Russia's far east, a long way from the site of the accident.

"Experts continue to reach out to our collaborators in Russian Federation to resume station operations as expediently as possible", the official said.

The radioactive-particle sensors of at least one of the stations in Russian Federation that went offline after a mysterious blast in the country's far north are transmitting again, the operator of the global network to which they belong said on Tuesday.

The CTBTO's mandate only covered the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty or national testing moratoriums, Ryabkov added.

This photo taken on October 7, 2018, shows a village of Nyonoksa, northwestern Russian Federation.

Ryabkov did not directly address reports that information on radiation levels was not shared.

"But, so you understand, the head of state is receiving complete updates about what is going on out there", he added.

In the days after the mishap, civilian and military authorities gave conflicting information as to what exactly occurred, how many casualties there were, and where the recorded spike in radiation came from and whether it was unsafe.

Radiation levels in the port city of Severodvinsk, near the site of the failed test, reached as high as 16 times normal immediately following the incident before declining, according to the state meteorological service.

Monitors in Norway, hundreds of kilometers to the northwest, detected a small increase in airborne radioactive iodine in the days that followed, but they have not linked it to the Nyonoksa explosion.

A tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to confirm speculation in Russian media that the incident involved the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, known in Russia as the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile that Putin introduced to the world during his state-of-the-nation address previous year.

Speaking alongside French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of bilateral talks, Putin said that all of those injured and killed in the blast would receive state awards.

Peskov referred reporters to a statement about the accident a day earlier from President Vladimir Putin who had said there was no risk of increased radiation levels, but that authorities were taking all necessary measures to exclude any possible risks to people's health.

U.S. President Donald Trump backed that theory in a tweet last week, saying that the "learning much" from the Skyfall explosion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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