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Current Affairs

Rise of nuclear particles in Baltic Sea

Date: 28 June 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Radiation sensors in Stockholm have detected higher-than-usual but still harmless levels of isotopes produced by nuclear fission, near the Baltic Sea.

 

Background

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) oversees a network of hundreds of monitoring stations that use seismic, hydroacoustic and other technology to check for a nuclear weapon test anywhere in the world.

 

Details

  • Stations scanning the air for radionuclides, the radioactive particles that can be carried long distances by the wind, detected unusually high levels of three radionuclides: caesium-134, caesium-137 and ruthenium-103.

  • Seismic refers to earthquakes or other vibrations underneath the earth's surface, while the term hydroacoustic refers to an underwater sound.  

  • The detection used a borderless map showing where the particles might have come from in the 72 hours before they were detected - a large area covering the tips of Denmark and Norway as well as southern Sweden, much of Finland, Baltic countries and part of western Russia including St Petersburg.

  • Nuclear fission refers to the atomic chain reaction that generates heat in nuclear reactors used in nuclear power stations. 

 

CTBTO

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions. Its seat will be Vienna, Austria.

  • The organization will be tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests and will operate therefore a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on site inspections.

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the Treaty has been ratified by 44 States, listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty, which were designated to have a nuclear reactor or at least some advanced level of nuclear technology.

  • As of March 2015, 41 of these Annex 2 states have signed the treaty and 36 have ratified. India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed or ratified the treaty; China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but have not ratified.

 

Baltic region

  • The Baltic states also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the three sovereign states in Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. 

  • All three countries are members of NATO, the eurozone, and the OECD, and are members of the European Union.