Small amounts of radioactive cesium from Fukushima detected in environmental samples


Published 05.04.2013, updated 01.10.2014 13:56

Keywords: Radioactivity in the environment

Small amounts of radioactive cesium have been detected in environmental samples from Finnmark, Northern Norway that originated from the Fukushima accident in 2011.
Johan Ingvald Hætta, Reindriftsforvaltningen

Johan Ingvald Hætta, Reindriftsforvaltningen

Photo: Johan Ingvald Hætta, Directorate of Reindeer Husbandry

On Friday the 11th of March 2011, Japan was struck by a powerful earthquake, which was followed by a tsunami. The impact of these events on the nuclear power station at Fukushima Daiichi led to releases of radioactive substances to the air, land and ocean. The first observations of radioactive substances in air over Norway were recorded on the 20th of March, 9 days after the accident, through a network of air monitoring stations.

Now has radioactivity from the Fukushima accident been detected in environmental samples from Finnmark that were collected in 2012. The samples were collected as part of the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority’s terrestrial monitoring programme. The radioactive substance cesium-134 has been transferred through food chains and has now been detected in small amounts in red foxes and reindeer. This radioactive substance has also been detected in several species of mushroom. The amounts that have detected in these environmental samples are very low (<1 Bq/kg wet weight) and are a fraction of cesium-137 that can still be detected today from the Chernobyl accident. The amount of radioactive substances detected in these environmental samples will have no consequences for human health or for the environment.