Satellite image/map of the Mayak nuclear facility, the closed town of Ozyorsk/Ozersk (Chelyabinsk-65), various lakes and reservoirs, and the South Urals nuclear power plant. Based on a screenshot from NASA World Wind (Landsat Global Mosaic visual layer), color corrected // Credit: NASA, Jan Rieke
After weeks of denial, Russian authorities finally admitted that September’s radiation cloud detected across Europe was centered around the Mayak Manufacturing Group in Russia, which has a history of contaminating the surrounding areas and populations with radioactive waste.
However, they stopped short of naming this facility as the origin of the cloud, which was notable for containing Ruthenium-106, an isotope that does not occur in nature. To further dispel the notion that Ruthenium-10 6 came from Mayak, while at the same time emphasizing its harmlessness, Rosatom (the Russian state atomic regulator) posted a meme on its Facebook page, having the isotope itself play the role of conciliator.
The post reads: