Measuring the radiation exposure of Norwegian reindeer under field conditions

Aramrun, Kitkawin; Beresford, Nicholas A.; Skuterud, Lavrans; Hevrøy, Tanya H.; Drefvelin, Jon; Bennett, Kip; Yurosko, Craig; Phruksarojanakun, Phiphat; Esoa, Jeerawa; Yongprawat, Monthon; Siegenthaler, Andjin; Fawkes, Ross; Tumnoi, Wanwiwa; Wood, Michael D.. 2019 Measuring the radiation exposure of Norwegian reindeer under field conditions. Science of the Total Environment, 687. 1337-1343.

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Models and approaches have been developed to predict radiation exposure of wildlife under field conditions. However, there have been few attempts to directly measure radiation exposure of wildlife in the field and confirm the doses predicted by models. This is a potential issue for stakeholder acceptance of modelling-based assessments. Here is presented a comprehensive study comparing the results of different dosimeters fitted to free-ranging reindeer inhabiting an area that received comparatively high radiocaesium deposition from the 1986 Chernobyl accident. The external dose of reindeer was measured using the four dosimeter types in aluminium box mounted on the GPS collar. The measurements were compared with two model predictions: (i) external dose to reindeer across the entire range area of the herd; and (ii) external doses of individual reindeer predicted using GPS tracking data to determine locations. It was found that although significant differences between the estimates of the various dosimeters were found these were small with no practical implication. Also, the mean predicted external doses using the GPS tracking data were not significantly different to estimates from two of the four passive dosimeter results. The average external dose predicted across the herd area was significantly lower than doses recorded by the dosimeters and also estimates using GPS data to determine reindeer location (and hence exposure). For 137Cs the average external dose from the GPS tracking data was about twice that predicted across the herd area, because collared animals favoured the more contaminated area of the study site. This suggests that in some circumstances the assumption of averaging contamination over an assumed home range within assessments may be inadequate though this would need to be balanced against other uncertainties. Natural radiation was the greatest contribution to reindeer exposure and a function of the high altitude.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: radioecology, external dose measurement, Norway, ERICA tool, passive dosimeter, large mammal
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 17 Jun 2019 12:46 +0 (UTC)

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