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Europe has been having a strange flux of radioactivity. The cause for this hasn’t been isolated. Although, the radioactivity has been narrowed down to be coming from small deposits of an iodine isotope, iodine-131. Iodine-131 is a man-made radioactive isotope. These deposits seem to be dotting a rough trail across Europe, starting in northern Norway, say officials.
Radiation of Unknown Origin in Europe Being Kept Under Wraps by Authorities
These deposits of iodine-131 were first found in January. Even though these dangerous hot-spots of radioactivity have been known about for months, there have been no announcements until recently. The reasoning for this being held back was stated to be because the authorities were trying to figure out where these deposits had come from and determine why and how they were spreading.
One strange part about this is the fact that these deposits of iodine-131 weren’t found around any other radioactive materials, which is usually the case. But the most suspicious part about this is the fact that these deposits have been determined to be fairly recently placed or dumped in these areas. This can be determined by the isotope’s half-life, which is pretty short. A half-life, found by determining the time it takes for a radioactive substance to degrade, is the way scientists find out how long something has been around. This is how carbon-dating is done, as well. Because of the short half-life of this radioactive material, the lack of other radioactive materials is more suspicious, as they would degrade at a slower rate and would be left long past the time it would take for the iodine-131 to disappear.
One theory is that, because iodine-131 is most often associated with atomic bombs, there has been some secret tests of nuclear weapons being done in Norway. The fallout from these tests would likely be found in the surrounding areas, depending on the size of the tests. Although a blast and fallout pattern would be expected to point towards a rough point of origin, with more material being found closest to an area, with less being found further away from the site. But the erratic patterns found by specially designed US planes have not been exactly consistent with this theory.
Iodine-131 has also been associated with some medical facilities that treat for illnesses such as cancer. These seemingly random deposits could be from pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities that are dumping excess material illegally or have had unreported leaks. The irony in this theory is not lost. But the proof of this has failed to be procured as well.
Authorities from the French nuclear security body do state that these radioactive hot spots are not to be worried about and are not a threat to nearby residents. Further investigations are supposedly under way and will be diligently at work looking for the cause of these deposits and rectifying this troublesome situation.