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Slow decline of caesium-137 in wild reindeer

Target

4.1 Pollution will not cause injury to health or environmental damage.

Indicator

Levels of selected radioactive substances in the environment
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The levels of caesium-137 in wild reindeer vary both between different areas in Norway and from year to year. The highest levels are generally found in northern parts of Rondane and on Snøhetta.

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Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority

Wild reindeer still contain high levels of caesium-137 in some areas, and the last decade shows little decline. This is because caesium-137 is still present in the environment due to its long half-life, and the fact that the contamination is still being absorbed by the plants and mushrooms that the animals graze on.

Measurements of caesium-137 in reindeer meat reveal large variations between different areas. The radioactive deposition from the Chernobyl accident was unevenly distributed across the country, causing the large differences in caesium-137 levels between different reindeer populations. There can also be large annual variations within the same area, which are caused by local differences in mushroom abundance. Because mushrooms can absorb more radioactive caesium than green plants, reindeer may contain higher levels in years in which there is a lot of mushrooms available.  

The maximum allowed limit of caesium-137 in reindeer meat for sale is 3000 Bq/kg. There is no limit for animals that are hunted for your own consumption.