Meteorologist service debunks radiation hoax

Radiation remains at normal levels.

Hoaxers have spread disinformation about a supposed radioactive cloud heading towards Slovakia.Hoaxers have spread disinformation about a supposed radioactive cloud heading towards Slovakia. (Source: Gabriel Kuchta, SME)

A hoax spreading via social media is blaming an explosion in Ukraine for higher radiation rates over Slovakia. The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) and the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) say radiation levels are normal.

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Several Slovak disinformation websites and politicians that habitually spread hoaxes and disinformation have been sharing a video of a supposed radioactive cloud that they claim is nearing Slovakia. According to the hoax, the cloud originates from the Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi, the Aktuality new website reports.

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A storage site for conventional weapons near the city, in western Ukraine, was hit by Russian missiles on May 13, causing large explosions. However, Ukraine possesses no nuclear or radiological weapons. Russia has been waging an unprovoked war on Ukraine since February 2022.

Disinformation websites compared the explosion to the Chernobyl power plant tragedy in 1986. There is a nuclear power plant in Khmelnytskyi, but it was not damaged in the Russian strike.

SHMÚ debunked claims of heightened radiation levels on its website. According to its meteorologists, airborne radiation is currently at 115 nSv/h, which is within the standard range of 100-200 nSV/h. SHMÚ writes that the rate can vary – it tends to increase slightly for a short period following heavy rain – but has remained normal all week.

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Meteorologists say that they would be able to detect an anomaly or sudden rise in radiation levels within ten minutes, which they could raise immediately with international radiation safety organizations. The Radiation Safety Office of the Public Health Authority added that there have been no increases in radiation concentrations recorded anywhere in Europe.

Both authorities add that people can check the current concentration, potential dangers, and a range of other information at either the Radioactivity Environmental Monitoring website or directly on the SHMÚ website, which is updated hourly.

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