Accidental radioactivity

Published: Tuesday 15 September 1998

An accident at a steel mill in Spain has contaminated large parts of southern Europe with radioactivity, say environmentalists. The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council says scrap containing the readioctive metal caesium-137 was mistakenly fed into the smelter of a steel mill in Algeciras, near Gibraltar, at the end of May this year. For the first few days in June, atmospheric concentrations of caesium-137 in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Germany and a few other European nations were up to a thousand times higher than normal. However, levels were still too low to pose any significant threats to human health, the council has assured all the affected countries.

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