Radioactive C-14 emerges from research reactor in Germany

Due to an assembly error, the radioactive nuclide C-14 is released in Garching near Munich. At no time should there have been any danger to people or the environment.

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Radioactive C-14 has leaked from the FRM II research reactor in Garching, Bavaria. As the operator, the Technical University of Munich announced on its website that the annual limit value of the nuclide had been exceeded.

There was no danger to people or the environment at any time, said operators and the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment.

The limit for FRM II was exceeded by about 15 percent, said spokeswoman Anke Görg. An evaluation on Thursday showed the value. Accordingly, an assembly error in a drying facility was responsible.

Operation of the reactor suspended due to coronavirus measures

If the limit is reached, the theoretical burden on the population of Görg is a maximum of three microsieverts. This is less than the value that a patient is exposed to when they have an x-ray at the dentist. The value corresponds to one percent of the permissible annual radiation dose of 300 microsieverts that can be expected of the population from the discharge of radioactive substances in the air.

The limit value for the C-14, which was individually set for the FRM II, was in turn far below the legally prescribed value.

Operation of the reactor has been suspended indefinitely since March 17 due to corona virus restrictions as visiting scientists are unable to work on site. The effects of the incident on further operations are open. The Bavarian Ministry of the Environment had to decide on this as the nuclear regulatory authority.

According to the Nuclear Notification Ordinance, the notification in “Category E” was classified as urgent, but according to the international rating scale (INES) it was level 0. This means no or very little safety-related significance.


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