Effects of Chernobyl Still Felt by Welsh Sheep Farmers

Sheep WalesSome sheep farmers in North Wales are seeking an increase in compensation for sheep   poisoned by radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Farmers are seeking an increased payment from £1.30 to £2 per ewe. The current compensation is outdated and not linked to inflation.

The number of farms has decreased dramatically from the original 8,900 to only 359 today. To take lambs to market, farmers have to pre-select the animals and arrange for radiation scanning. Only after the animals pass testing can they be taken to market.

Due to radioactive fallout which blanketed parts of Wales (as well as parts of Scotland and Cumbria), every animal must be test by one of four geiger scanning teams in North Wales. The European safety limit for sheep is 1,000 becquerels/kilogram, but animals typically pass only if the reading is below 645 because mud and wool can affect readings.

Farmers are also required to obtain a license every time they move their sheep, which occurs up to 14 or 15 times per year.

Isn’t it amazing that 22 years after the Chernobyl disaster farmers in North Wales are still suffering from the radioactive fallout? It’s not only people who lived in the Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia that have suffered.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not comparing the plight of Welsh farmers to the horrors suffered by people from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia - only pointing out that the disaster has had, and continues to have, a direct effect on other people too.


It makes me wonder what keeps these farmers doing their work? With little money incentive, the few that are left might start to diminish, but I am sure that what they produce is highly appreciated. Just like in the rest of the world, farmers must be recognized for the work that they do, and hopefully people will recognize that it is worth raising their pay, because, if not, we will not have the foods and savoir of the land any longer.

I'll bet the reason why at least some of these Welsh farmers continue on is that it is the only thing they know how to do. I assume they are somewhat set in their ways and are not interested in learning a new profession and possibly moving away from their family home.

It somewhat reminds me of the "samosels" that returned to their homes in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Their homes and work there was all they knew and they simply did not want to move away and try to start a new life elsewhere.

Very Nice

great post man, keep up the good work!

it's incredible that they're still affected by this, what a tragedy!

Very sad day indeed in the annals of human history. I remember seeing pictures of 5 legged sheep from immediately downwind.

Horrible accident ofc, but great article.