Radioactive iodine leak reported at Halden nuclear reactor, Norway

Radioactive iodine leak reported at Halden nuclear reactor, Norway

A nuclear reactor at the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Halden, southeast Norway leaked radioactive iodine on Monday, October 24, 2016, the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) said. The incident happened at 11:45 UTC (13:45 CET) at the Halden Reactor in Ostfold county, close to the border with Sweden, due to a technical failure during treatment of the fuel in the reactor hall.

Atle Valseth, research director at IFE, said the release in the reactor hall has also led to an emission of radioactive Iodine to the environment. 

"The reactor’s protection systems functioned as designed, which reduced the emissions considerably. The emissions to the environment constitute about 5-8% of the annual emission permits for these isotopes, well under the permitted levels established by the NRPA."

"IFEs personnel immediately left the reactor hall when the release was registered. No employees have received any radioactive doses of significance." he said.

Up to 8 people could have been present in the reactor hall at the time of the incident.

"The leak has now been contained and the reactor is shut. The incident is not expected to harm the environment outside the reactor," IFE said. 

The NRPA director Per Strand said that a new supervision relating to this incident will be open to uncover how this could happen and why the NRPA was not notified until the day after."

The Halden Reactor was built in 1955 and became operational in 1958. 

This is a 25MW nucler reactor dedicated to research and used by organizations from 19 countries.

According to an article published on May 31, 2013 in O Estado de S. Paulo, the reactor was used without proper authorization from Norway's government.

On September 12, 2013, the paper said that the institute is admitting to illegal cooperation with companies in four more countries.

On October 10, 2016, NRK reported that IFE has decided to temporarily close the reactor.

Featured image credit: Google

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