Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK)

STUK air sampler in Kotka detected radioactive zirconium and niobium


The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) detected small amounts of radioactive isotopes of zirconium and niobium (Zr-95, Nb-95) in an air sample collected in Kotka between 15 and 22 August. The sample also contained slightly more caesium isotope 137 than normal. Minor amounts of caesium from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident are regularly detected in air samples.

The detected radioactivity has no effect on the environment or human health. The concentrations were very low (0.3 microbecquerels (µBq) of Zr-95 per cubic metre of air, 0.6 µBq of Nb-95 and 4.5 µBq of Ce-137).

Small quantities of zirconium and niobium can escape into the air from the fuel of a nuclear power plant during plant maintenance, for example.  During the collection of the sample, the air currents came to Kotka from the east and southeast.

The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK monitors the levels of radioactive substances in outdoor air at eight localities in Finland. Further information on the monitoring of radioactive substances in outdoor air and the measurement data concerning radioactive substances in outdoor air is available on STUK’s website.

STUK also measures the radiation situation at 260 automatic measuring stations whose measurement results are available in real time on STUK's website (Radiation today). Radiation levels have been consistently normal.



Tero Karhunen, Senior Inspector, tel. +358 9 759 88 612


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