Chernobyl Fallout Greater in Sweden Than Poland

Sweden CottagePreliminary findings from researchers at Case Western Reserve University indicate that fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine caused larger amounts of Plutonium to be found in Sweden than in Poland.

The research funded by the National Science Foundation, included the examination of soil samples taken from various locations in both countries, measuring the presence of Cesium (Cs-137), Plutonium (PU-239,240) and Lead (Pb-210).

The soil samples provided insights into:

  • How the radionuclides were delivered to the soil
  • Where the radionuclides came from (causal event)
  • The half-life of the radionuclides
  • Absorption rates into materials such as clay particles and organic materials (Cesium and Beryllium are absorbed more heavily into clay while Plutonium and Lead are absorbed more readily into organic materials)
  • Types of soil that either keep radioactive particles at the surface or allow them to permeate to levels below the surface.
Findings related to the downward migration of radionuclides from the Chernobyl blast reveal information about:

  • Public health ramifications of issues such as food change transfer, exposure and cleanup.
  • Geologic aftereffects such as erosion rates and the amount of time radionuclides remain in the watershed,
  • Understanding the differentiation of radioactive elements from a one-time event such as Chernobyl or fallout created by nuclear weapons testing.
These findings are very interesting, especially if you consider the following map indicating regions of heaviest fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. According to the following map from researchers at Pennsylvania State University, Poland received much higher amounts of fallout than Sweden.

Chernobyl Fallout MapWhat makes these findings more fascinating is that, due to existing weather patterns on April 26, 1986, the initial plume of radioactive materials completely avoided Poland, but did reach Sweden, where workers at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant detected higher than normal levels of radiation and traced the source back to Chernobyl. Radiation did reach Poland until April 27, after weather patterns changed.

Photo: iStockPhoto - Marcus Lindstrom

3 Comments

Hello. I was wondering if you had anymore information on the fallout and the effects from it. I was born in Poland in 1985 but moved to the U S A in 1990. I am very interested in finding out more so please contact me as soon as you can

I was living in North Eastern border of Poland and Belarus ( less than 400km ) from Chernobyl from 1977 - 1989. It seems I have quite a lot of allergies, get colds flus rather easily and my immune system is compromised.I am in great need of more information on the effects ratio of radiation etc...

I spent 30 days in 2004 traveling through out eastern Poland . All these years later is there still a problem with Chernobyl fallout and if so in what way ? Food supply ? Water ? General environment soil , trees , ect ....