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Chernobyl Radiation Still Contaminating UK Sheep

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The U.K. Food Standards Agency recently published three 2008 monitoring reports about sheep on farms across England, Scotland and Wales that remain under post-Chernobyl restrictions. According to these new reports, none of the affected farms were considered suitable to have their restrictions lifted.

As a result of the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, large quantities of radioactivity was released into the atmosphere. Some of this radioactive contamination fell on upland areas of the United Kingdom where sheep are farmed.

To protect consumers, restrictions were placed upon the movement and sale of sheep from U.K. areas where contamination levels in sheep meat is over 1,000 Becquerels per kilogram (the safety limit set in 1986). Live sheep are currently monitored using hand-held radiation monitors that provide a count rate relating to radioactive contamination.

In 1986, almost 9,000 farms fell under these restrictions. Today, only 369 farms are still under restriction, 95% of which are located in northern Wales.

The Food Standards Agency will continue to survey the sheep to ensure that farms can be released from their restrictions as soon as possible, once the contamination levels in the sheep fall within safety limits.

Image: Welsh Sheep - Photo: Ian Wilson

Chernobyl Radiation Still Reaching Dnipr River

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The State Office of the Public Prosecutor of Ukraine has concluded that radiation from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is still reaching the Dnipr River. The Dnipr supplies water to many Ukrainian cities including the capital, Kyiv.

Tatyana Kornyakova, assistant to the public prosecutor, made the remarks after a study determined that radiation, particularly from the Pripyat River, is still migrating into the Dnipr. The sources of river contamination includes places throughout the Chernobyl Zone where radioactive waste and contaminated equipment are buried. Many of these areas are periodically exposed to flooding, exacerbating the situation. Also found during the study were two open trenches containing radioactive waste, located at the partially-buried village Buriakovka.

The report also discussed the absence of fencing around portions of the Chernobyl Zone, which has made it easy for people to remove contaminated equipment from the area. Outside the Zone, these materials are sold as scrap.

The Ministry of Emergency Measures and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been requested to correct these problems. Kornyakova said the current state of affairs represents a threat to the country.

Blog Action Day - Nature Lessons in Chernobyl

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Today is Blog Action Day, and this year's topic is the environment. In keeping with this theme, I want to discuss the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and it's current status.

It has been over 21 years since the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine. After the accident, an area within 30 kilometers of the plant was designated as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The area is still contaminated and considered unfit for human habitation.