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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#493-494
Special: Agenda 2000: Will it increase nuclear safety in Eastern Europe?
19/06/1998
Article

Highest cesium levels in large part of Europe since Chernobyl 1986.

(June 19, 1998) A radioactive cloud was drifting over southern Europe early June. Higher cesium-137 levels were measured in Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany. Highest level was measured in Switzerland where over 1,000 times above normal levels were detected, but they had since then returned to normal. Of course there were reassuring statements from the authorities.
A steel factory in Algeciras (southern Spain) was found to be the cause. A cesium source was smelted as scrap metal. Although not completely sure it is likely the source was medical X-ray equipment. It is strange that the factory where the radiation was set free only was located nine days later and after half of Europe was looking where the cesium came from.
El Pais (Spain), 18 June 1998; Reuters, 13 June 1998