Consequences of the Chernobyl accident for reindeer husbandry in Sweden

  • Gustaf Åhman Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 5097, S-900 05 Umeå, Sweden
  • Birgitta Åhman Department of Clinical Nutrition, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7023, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
  • Axel Rydberg Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 5097, S-900 05 Umeå, Sweden
Keywords: Cs-137, halflife, feeding, reindeer, reindeer husbandry, Sweden, Cherobyl, consequences

Abstract

Large parts of the reindeer hearding area in Sweden were contaminated with radioactive caesium from the Chernobyl fallout. During the first year after the accident no food with activity concentrations exceeding 300 Bq/kg was allowed to be sold in Sweden. This meant that about 75% of all reindeer meat produced in Sweden during the autumn and winter 1986/87 were rejected because of too high caesium activités. In May 1987 the maximum level for Cs-137 in reindeer, game and fresh-water fish was raised to 1500 Bq/kg. During the last two year, 1987/88 and 1988/89, about 25% of the slaughtered reindeer has had activities exceeding this limit. The effective long-time halflife or radiocaesium in reindeer after the nuclear weapon tests in the sixties was about 7 years. If this halflife is correct also for the Chernobyl fallout it will take about 35 years before most of the reinder in Sweden are below the current limit 1500 Bq/kg in the winter. However, by feeding the animals uncontaminated food for about two months, many reindeer can be saved for human consumption.
Published
1990-09-01
How to Cite
Åhman, G., Åhman, B., & Rydberg, A. (1990). Consequences of the Chernobyl accident for reindeer husbandry in Sweden. Rangifer, 10(3), 83-88. https://doi.org/10.7557/2.10.3.835