Research Article

A case study in the Chernobyl zone Part I: Predicting radionuclide transfer to wildlife

ECORAD 2004: The Scientific Basis for Environment Protection Against Radioactivity, Aix-en-Provence, France.

N. A. Beresforda1, S. M. Wrighta1, C. L. Barnetta1, M. D. Wooda2, S. Gaschaka3, A. Arkhipova3, T. G. Sazykinaa4 and R. Avilaa5

a1 Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4AP, UK, e-mail:

a2 Jones Building, School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool L69 3GS, UK

a3 International Radioecology Laboratory, ICC, Post Box 151, Slavutych, 07100 Kiev District, Ukraine

a4 SPA “TYPHOON", 82 Lenin Av., Obnisk, Kaluga Region 249038, Russia

a5 Facilia AB, 16751 Bromma, Sweden


A number of frameworks have been proposed to assess the protection of wildlife from ionising radiations. In this paper we compare the predictions of transfer parameters recommended by one of these frameworks (FASSET) with observed whole-body 90Sr and 137Cs activity concentrations in a range of mammal and invertebrate species sampled within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Predicted activity concentrations are generally within the observed ranges and mean predictions for reference organisms are similar to, or circa one order of magnitude higher than, the observed means. However, some predictions are more than one order of magnitude lower than observed values. No data were available for animals to test predictions for the other radionuclides released by the Chernobyl accident. In a separate paper the outputs of this assessment will be used to estimate doses to reference organisms and compare these to observed radiation induced effects reported within the Chernobyl zone.

(Online publication June 17 2005)