Along with monitoring nuke testing, the WC-135 is sometimes used to track radioactive activity as happened after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the then Soviet Union in 1986.
One of these aircraft was also deployed near North Korea in anticipation of Kim Jong-un’s controversial rocket launches in recent years.
Although they cross European airspace from time-to-time, their deployment to the UK is still rare.
And there has been no official statement from the US military about the reasons why it has been sent here.
Sources suggest the aircraft has been tasked with investigating the spike in radiation levels detected in northern Europe since January.
And some respected websites claim there are growing fears within military circles that Russia has been testing its nuclear might ahead of a future conflict.
Many point to the radiation spike as “proof” the Russians have restarted nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic.
Others point to the lack of recorded seismic activity to cast doubt on the claims.
However, the deployment of the WC-135 to the UK seems to add weight to the test theory.
— CivMilAir ✈ 🚁 (@CivMilAir) February 17, 2017
America’s highest ranking military officer has compared current tensions with Russia to the height of the Cold War ahead of a face-to-face showdown with his Kremlin counterpart.
General Joe Dunford said an immediate meeting with Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov is “absolutely critical” as strains between the two superpowers reach breaking point.
Last Wednesday it was revealed Russian jets buzzed a US destroyer docked off the Romanian coast in a blatant show of force slammed by Navy officers as “unsafe and unprofessional”.
And a 200-crew Russian spy ship armed with surface-to-air missiles reached as close as 30 miles to the Connecticut coastline — and a key US submarine base.
At the weekend, the US Navy released a statement saying its testing of two Trident missiles was “not in response to any world events” after scores of people filmed a mysterious light trailing through the night sky.
Yesterday, it was revealed how radioactive particles had been detected in seven different European countries and scientists can’t explain where they have come from.
Traces of Iodine-131 were found in Norway, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain in January but the public were not immediately alerted.
These radioactive particles are produced by atomic bomb explosions or nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl or Fukushima.
They appear to be emanating from Eastern Europe but experts have not been able to say exactly what produced them.
Astrid Liland, head of emergency preparedness at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, told the Barents Observer that the health risk was very low – which was why she did not raise the alarm after detecting Iodine-131 during the second week of January.
“We do measure small amounts of radioactivity in the air from time to time because we have very sensitive measuring equipment,” she said.
“The measurements at Svanhovd in January were very, very low. So were the measurements made in neighbouring countries, like Finland. The levels raise no concern for humans or the environment. Therefore, we believe this had no news value.”
However, she was unable to say where the particles have come from.
They may have been released by accident by a nuclear reactor or a medical facility where they are being used to treat hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer.
The particles could also been produced by Russian nuclear submarines.
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