Iodine 131, a radioactive isotope mostly associated with nuclear fission has been detected in air sampling results of some of the official monitoring organizations in Europe, pointing towards a possible nuclear incident in the polar regions of Arctic.
The radioactive particles were first detected in January in Svanhovd, Norway near the Russian border. Similar detection has also been confirmed in Spain. Air sample detection indicated a very-low concentration of isotope, which has been confirmed to have no health risk to people and environment.
Yet the detected radioactive isotope, iodine-131 suggests that the nuclear leak is from a recent incident and not from any past nuclear event.
There has been no conclusion to pinpoint the cause of the leak. The United States has dispatched its WC-135 Constant Phoenix atmospheric testing aircraft to Europe which is specifically designed to respond to nuclear incidents and to identify a “signature” of any radiation release which can suggest the type of weapon detonated and also assess how large the blast was.
There is a speculation of some sort of accidental leak from nuclear material storage or power generation from some European nation for the detected radioactivity.
Another theory assumes Russians to have restarted nuclear weapon testing in the Arctic or to have tested a tactical small nuclear warhead. However there is no corresponding seismic data to conclude any nuclear war head testing.
Alternate conjecture also talks of large number of Russian nuclear-waste containment facilities and decommissioned nuclear submarines and vessels waiting to be denuclearised near the Kola Peninsula and in the Kara Sea with is adjacent to Norway border to be cause of the recent leak. During and after the Cold War times, Russia has been accused of dumping unprocessed nuclear radioactive waste from nuclear vessels, containers, nuclear reactors along with spent fuel rods in the Artic region. Many have suggested this to be a ticking time-bomb resulting in radioactive leakage and contamination.
However, currently there has been no conclusion to ascertain the cause of the recently detected radioactive particles. Irrespective of the allegations and denials from nations and diplomats common man needs to understand that the risk of nuclear incident whether an accident or man-made is very real and that his disaster management preparedness must be up to date to face whatever consequences international geopolitics would throw to him.