26 years have passed since the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Many countries in Europe were affected of the radioactive fallout, including Norway which is roughly 2500 kilometers away from Chernobyl.
On May 18, 2012 The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) reported about a new helicopter survey (covering 3000 square kilometer) of the mountainous area in central Norway called Jotunheimen (home of the giants) which contains the highest mountain in North Europe (Galdhopiggen 2469m / 8100feet) and a large high-mountain plateau called Valdresflye which is the feeding area for about 7500 reindeer.
Over the years, reindeer have been monitored for radioactive content, and animals that were considered to have a too high radioactive content for food consumption were omitted from being slaughtered.
The helicopter survey published in May 2012 was actually performed in the fall of 2011, and the eastern part of the Valdresfly plateau was found to contain 70 kilobequerel cesium-137 per square meter. This is a level considered too high and unfit for food production.
The researchers also did a back-calculation (estimation) to the time when the actual fallout occurred in 1986 taking into consideration the halflive of cesium-137 being 30 years, and also that the original fallout had a cesium-134 component with a halflife of 2 years, and also that some of the fallout has been washed away, and also that reindeer feeding from the surface has removed some of the fallout. It was therefore concluded that the actual surface contamination in 1986 was around 300 kilobequerel cesium-137 per square meter. Researcher Lavrans Skuterud commentet that these are the highest radiation values mapped for a large area in Norway (with the exception of smaller hot-spots).
Researcher and team leader Jan Steinar Rønning said that parts of the same mountainous area had been surveyed immediately after the Chernobyl Nuclear Distaster happened in 1986, but at this time there was no equipment available to discern the cesium fallout from natural radiation sources in the earth’s crust like thorium, calium, and uranium. The new map gives much more presise information that both confirms and in some cases disconfirm earlier knowledge concerning the radioactive fallout.
In the summer of 2012 additional research will be done regarding vegetation and types of crust since it is known that even limited amounts of fallout may cause more pollution of vegetation in areas with crust that is more vulnerable (sensitive) to radiaoactive fallout.
The research organization also stated their wish that further helicopter surveys will be financed for other areas of Norway (like North Trondelag and South Nordland) that also were exposed to large amounts of cesium fallout after the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.
(Copyright: This article was researched and translated by STIG BJORGE, and I would appreciate that anyone interested in re-posting it in another forum kindly contact me first via Safecast. Copyright for the map/image and the original Norwegian text belongs to Norges geologiske undersøkelse (NGU))