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Title Chernobyl radiocaesium in an upland sheep farm ecosystem.CEH Staff publications
Name(s) Howard, B J (Brenda J.)
Beresford, N A (Nick)
Publication 1989
Subjects T07051b1; CEH staff publication;
Abstract Following the deposition of radiocaesium from the Chernobyl accident the movement and slaughter of sheep in upland areas of west Cumbria, Scotland and Wales was restricted. Studies on the radioecology of Cs-137 and Cs-134 have been conducted at a farm within the affected area of west Cumbria since July 1986. The radiocaesium activity of upland sheep was found to decline when they were brought onto the farms' enclosed pastures and rise when they were returned to the open fell, where the radiocaesium content of the vegetation has remained higher than on the pastures. The Cs-137 activity concentration of mixed grassland vegetation samples from the fell has declined over the study period, whereas the Cs-137 activity of ewes whilst grazing on the fell was higher in summer of 1987 than in autumn of 1986. A number of factors which may have contributed to this discrepancy were investigated and are discussed. It is suggested that husbandry changes would be effective in reducing the number of lambs leaving the restricted areas with radiocaesium activities over the limit (1000 Bq/kg fresh weight Cs-134 + Cs-137) set by the UK authorities.
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