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Why are wild boars in Western Europe still radioactive after 37 years?


On April 25, 1986, the most devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster in history occurred in Ukraine when a technical experiment failed and caused nuclear reactor number 4 to melt down.

This incident left consequences that are difficult to recover from, turning this place into the most dangerous “radioactive forbidden area” in the world as well as seriously affecting living creatures around when the incident occurred. .

The nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant haunted humanity for many years

According to records, during 37 years of abandonment, animal species here such as wild boar, elk and European deer have skyrocketed. During this research, scientists also discovered that wild boars have a higher radiation exposure index than other species even though they all live in the same environment.

Radioactivity in wild boars is surprisingly high

After the Chernobyl disaster occurred, people were immediately advised not to consume mushrooms and wild animal meat here because they have very high levels of radioactivity.

According to SciDaily, the radioactivity index Cesium-137 (radioactivity emitted far away after the Chernobyl disaster) has a half-life of 30 years, meaning that after 30 years, half of the radioactivity has spontaneously decomposed. Therefore, according to the process, by 2016, the level of radioactive Cesium-137 in most food samples (including animals and plants) will be only half of what it was in the beginning.

The wild boar sample is said to have a significantly high radioactivity index compared to other species

However, the strange thing is that the level of radioactivity measured in Bavarian wild boar meat in this area still significantly exceeds the prescribed limit, or it can be said that the radioactivity level of this species has remained almost unchanged after nearly 40 years.

Why are wild boars highly radioactive?

After many years of research, thanks to more accurate measurements at the present time, a team led by Professor Georg Steinhauser at TU Wien decided to decode the origin and amount of radiation in boars.

Dr. Bin Feng, who conducts research at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at Leibniz University, Hannover and the TRIGA Atominstitut Center at TU Wien, explains: “This is entirely possible because each different radioactive isotope source has a different physical fingerprint. Accordingly, Chernobyl not only released Cesium-137 but also released Cesium-135 (a Cesium isotopes have a much longer half-life), the fact that wild boars are contaminated with a higher radioactivity index can be explained.”

Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Why are wild boars in Western Europe still radioactive after 37 years? - Photo 3.

The fact that wild boar has a high radioactivity index is because this species is contaminated with both radioactive cesium-135 and cesium-137.

In addition, research by a group led by Professor Georg Steinhauser at Vienna University of Technology also reached similar conclusions about the origin of radioactivity in wild boar meat. They believe that radioactive cesium is a result of both nuclear weapons explosions in the 1960s and nuclear energy production as well as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Radiochemist Georg Steinhauser believes that another reason why wild boars have a higher radioactivity index than other species is due to their habit of eating truffles. Accordingly, when cesium is released, it will seep through the soil and be absorbed by fungi. In winter, when corn and acorns on the ground were scarce, wild boars may have dug in the ground to find food and eaten truffles contaminated with radioactive cesium, causing their radioactivity index to increase. This also explains why observations have shown that radiation levels in wild boars are also higher in winter.

Source: Euronews

The article is in Vietnamese

Tags: wild boars Western Europe radioactive years


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