Fluxes of radiocaesium in selected rural study sites in Russia and Ukraine

Strand, P.; Balonov, M.; Travnikova, I.; Skuterud, L.; Ratnikov, A.; Prister, B.; Howard, B.; Hove, K.. 1999 Fluxes of radiocaesium in selected rural study sites in Russia and Ukraine. Science of the Total Environment, 231 (2-3). 159-171.

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Food production and food harvesting systems common in the areas contaminated by the Chernobyl accident in Russia and Ukraine can be grouped into three major categories: collective farm produce, private farming produce and foods collected from natural ecosystems. The contribution of each of these sources to radiocaesium intake by people living in rural settlements in the mid 1990s has been estimated at two major studysites, one in each country. The collective farm system provided the smallest contribution (7–14%) to the intake of radiocaesium at both sites. Natural food was the major contributor to intake at the Russian site (83%). Whereas private farm produce was the major contributor (68%) at the Ukrainian studysite. The difference between the two sites was mainly because private milk production was stopped at the Russian site due to the contamination in 1986. A retrospective assessment of the situation 1 year after the accident shows that collective farming could have been a minor contributor to radiocaesium intake (8%), whilst private farming would have been the major contributor wherever private milk production and consumption continued. The extent to which inhabitants consume natural foods from forests has a considerable effect on their radiocaesium intake. The comparative importance of food products from natural ecosystems increases with time due to the long effective ecological half-lives of radiocaesium in unimproved pastures and forests. Estimation of the fluxes of radiocaesium from the different production and harvesting systems showed that the contribution from private farming and food harvesting from natural ecosystems may be significant, contributing 14–30% to the total fluxes of radiocaesium from an area even if the quantity of food produced in these systems is small. However, the major contributor to the flux exported from an area was the collective farming system, accounting for about 70–86% of the total.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Pre-2000 sections
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: radioecology, flux, radiocaesium, Chernobyl, internal dose, natural foods
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 May 2012 12:37 +0 (UTC)

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