Russia identifies four radioactive isotopes from nuclear accident

MOSCOW — A Russian state weather agency named for the first time Monday four specific radioactive particles released by an explosion at a military testing site earlier this month that left at least seven people dead and has remained shrouded in secrecy weeks after the incident.

The Russian meteorological agency identified them as isotopes of strontium, two types of barium, and lanthanum but asserted that radiation levels are now normal in cities near the accident, which occurred Aug. 8 in the country’s north.

All four particles form from radioactive gases released during nuclear fission, outside specialists said, and might be expected to drift far from the site of their release.


While shedding little light on the device that exploded earlier this month — or the potential risk to people living nearby — the announcement did offer hints that other still undisclosed heavier elements could have been released closer to the blast site.

The statement came as the latest data point in the gradual drip of information released by Russian authorities, who have been slow to acknowledge a nuclear accident during a military test.