Asahi: Cesium started spiking in Chernobyl wildlife during recent years — “Researchers don’t really understand”

Published: March 29th, 2012 at 5:28 am ET
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Title: Cesium levels in animals around Chernobyl fail to drop –
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: ICHIRO MATSUO
Date: March 28, 2012

Wildlife in an animal sanctuary in Belarus, close to the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, continues to show high levels of accumulated radioactive cesium, researchers say.

A similar pattern has emerged in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture [...]

“Although the amount of cesium-137, which has a half-life of about 30 years, in mammals and other wildlife [around Chernobyl] seemed to be declining between 2001 and 2005, it underwent a resurgence from 2006 to 2010,” said an official in charge of research on the area’s ecology and fauna at the preserve.

For example, the amount of cesium-137 accumulated in each kilogram of flesh extracted from wolves–which sit at the top of the food chain–was measured at 40.8 kilobecquerels, based on 96 samples, between 1998 and 2000. The figure dropped to 23.9 kilobecquerels, based on 79 samples, from 2001 to 2005.

However, the level rose to 30.7 kilobecquerels, based on 19 samples, from 2006 to 2010.

Researchers don’t really understand the reasons for the spike. The same change has also been observed in wild boar and other animals. [...]

The highest level recorded thus far [after Fukushima] was in a wild boar captured in Nihonmatsu. The animal recorded a level of 14.6 kilobecquerels per kilogram.

Read the report here

Published: March 29th, 2012 at 5:28 am ET
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