Factors contributing to radiocaesium variability in upland sheep flocks in west Cumbria (United Kingdom)

Beresford, N.A.; Barnett, C.L.; Wright, S.M.; Howard, B.J.; Crout, N.M.J.. 2007 Factors contributing to radiocaesium variability in upland sheep flocks in west Cumbria (United Kingdom). Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 98 (1-2). 50-68.

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Following the Chernobyl accident in 1986, restrictions were placed on the movement and slaughter of sheep within upland areas of the UK because radiocaesium activity concentrations in their meat exceeded 1000 Bq kg−1 fresh weight. Some farms remain under restriction in 2007. From 1991 to 1993 detailed studies were conducted on three sheep farms within the restricted area of west Cumbria to systematically assess the various parameters which may contribute to the observed variability in radiocaesium activity concentrations within sheep flocks. This paper reports the spatial variation in soil and vegetation activity concentrations across the grazed areas at these farms and determines the influence of grazing behaviour on variability in 137Cs activity concentrations between individual sheep within the flocks. Together with previously reported results, these new data are used to draw conclusions on the factors determining variability within the three flocks. However, the factors are too site specific to be able to generalise the findings to other farms within the restricted areas of the UK.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
Watkins (to March 2011)
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: Chernobyl accident, 137Cs, sheep, grazing behaviour, upland pastures, radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Nov 2007 16:12 +0 (UTC)

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