Watchdog agency says no traces of contamination with rocket fuel in Altai

BARNAUL, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — Experts of Russia’s Federal Service for the Protection of Consumer Rights /Rospotrebnadzor/ have not found any traces of contamination with heptyl, a rocket fuel, which might have gotten into the rivers in the Altai Mountains after Wednesday’s collapse there of debris of the misfortunate cargo space vehicle Progress.

According a report by Rospotrebnadzor, the conclusion was drawn Thursday after an examination of the samples of water from the river Biya. Another two mountainous Altai rivers, Karakoksha and Ob, flow into it near the city of Barnaul.

Sanitary experts also took samples of soil near the township of Karakoksha.

“Rospotrebnadzor laboratories gauged the power of gamma radiation in some population centers of the Republic of Altai and the Altai territory and the readings obtained fell in line with the national background readings typical of those areas,” the report said.

Sanitary control measures continue in the zone under observation.

In most likelihood, the collapse of the Progress, which fell on the ground just after 350 seconds after launch from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, did not inflict any damage on the ecology of the Republic of Altai, an official at the Russian Federal Space Agency /Roscosmos/ said Thursday.

“Everything burned out, including the rocket fuel, before it could reach the earth,” said Dr Alexander Puzanov the director of Roscosmos’s center for monitoring the areas in Siberia where fragments of carrier rockets fall.

One of the duties of the center is to collect ‘space rubble’.

“We don’t think right now nature might have sustained damage,” Dr Puzanov said. “The elevation from which the Progress started falling totaled 150 kilometers and no parts of it should have survived in theory.”

He indicated, though, that the authorities will continue aerial observation of the spots where fragments of the cargo ship might have fallen will be conducted for another two days.

The objective of the effort is to get the final evidence that no fragments are lying on the ground, Dr Puzanov said.

Reports indicate the Progress had some 800 kg of heptyl aboard.


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