“We have official information from the (Lithuanian) Environmental Protection Agency and regulatory authorities of European countries that individual countries — Norway, France, the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia — have detected traces of radioactive iodine,” Albinas Mastauskas, director of the Radiation Protection Center, told BNS.
“I want to say that there is no threat to people. These are only traces of iodine. There is no impact on the level of radiation,” he said.
According to the official, air sampling stations in Lithuania and Latvia have detected no traces of radioactive iodine. European authorities are currently trying to determine the causes of the leak, he said.
“Traces of radioactive iodine mean that there is a leak somewhere. This could be a nuclear power plant accident of a certain level, or research reactors, or reactors that produce individual radionuclides for medical and therapeutic needs. Something has happened somewhere,” Mastauskas said.
“Russia back in late January recorded the first traces, and everybody is now trying to find out where this has came from, but there is no answer yet,” he said.
Euractiv has reported that the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) is looking into the causes of the leak. According to the website, Jean-Christophe Gariel of the IRSN says that “nuclear power stations can be struck off the list of possible suspects”.
“We have only detected iodine. If there had been an accident, like the ones in Fukushima or Chernobyl, we would have had leaks of other substances, like cesium,” he was quoted as saying.
This incident resembles an episode when the Budapest isotopes institute in 2011 released a harmless amount of radioactive iodine into the environment, Euractiv wrote.