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Electromagnetic fields Relationship between neurodegenerative diseases and magnetic field exposure to be studied

At an international workshop in Munich from 12 to 14 December 2017, scientists from several countries discussed possible relationships between low-frequency magnetic fields and neurodegenerative diseases. Participants included physicians, biologists, epidemiologists, physicists and electrical engineers. The event was hosted by BfS as part of the research programme "Radiation protection and grid expansion", which was launched in July 2017.

Ionising radiation Release of ruthenium-106 in the southern Ural Mountains

The Russian meteorological service, Roshydromet, has now published the first report on its own detection of radioactive ruthenium-106 a few weeks ago. The findings cited in the report support the calculations by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The BfS assumes that a rather large quantity of ruthenium-106 (Ru-106) was released around the end of September 2017. The place of release can now also be localised more precisely: Due to the prevailing wind direction at that time, areas to the west and to the south of the Ural Mountains can be excluded as potential release areas.

Electromagnetic fields Much approval for research programme on power grid expansion

After having achieved a high level of participation in the online consultation on the research programme Power Grid Expansion, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is now going to include concrete proposals for further investigations into the research programme. These are, for example, studies on sleep or on particular molecular signalling cascades. The current scientific literature and the results of technical discussions will also be taken into account. About 160 comments were made, most of which referred to the entire programme. Overall, there was a very positive response to the research programme. Nevertheless, some citizens also expressed concern that the project was too late. In this context, BfS has pointed out that no health hazards will be posed by low-frequency fields if the limit values are observed, according to the current state of affairs. However, there are still some scientific uncertainties that will have to be clarified in the coming years.

Paulini in favour of fact-based discourse on radiation risks

Inge Paulini, President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS) campaigned for a fact-based discourse about radiation risks during an international radiation protection conference on 9 November 2017 at BfS Munich. "All of us have a responsibility to discuss potential risks in an honest, open and comprehensible way without creating unnecessary concern. As reliable partners in scientific and public debates, we should support discourses based on scientific facts and not on fear", she emphasized at the opening of an event of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) on Wednesday at BfS in Neuherberg near Munich.

Ionising radiation Low concentrations of ruthenium-106 detected in Europa

Slightly elevated concentrations of radioactivity in the atmosphere have been detected at several trace monitoring stations in Europe since 29.09.2017. Low levels of ruthenium-106 (Ru-106) were detected at seven stations in Germany and several European stations, among others in Austria, Switzerland and Italy. The concentration of the radioactive substance is very low, ranging from a few microbecquerel to a few millibecquerel per cubic metre. These low levels of radioactivity do not pose a hazard to public health. Analyses as to the origin of the radioactive substance suggest a high probability of a release in the Southern Ural, although other areas in the South of Russia cannot be ruled out.


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