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31 years after Chernobyl radioactive boar shot dead in Sweden

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radioactive boar
Nature   Sweden was covered in a toxic cloud

A wild boar with radiation levels more than ten times the safe limit has been shot in central Sweden.

The reason for the unusually high radiation is that the animal lived in fields which are still affected by fallout from the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, 31 years ago, The Local reported.

After the explosion at the reactor in what is now Ukraine, much of Sweden was covered in a toxic cloud of radioactive iodine and cesium-137. When the rain came, the area around Gävle in the centre-east of the country took the brunt of the radioactive pollution.

But while levels of radiation in animals such as elk and reindeer have been continually decreasing, wild boar have now begun to move north into the areas worst affected by the nuclear fallout – meaning the level of radiation among the boar population seems to be on the rise.

One boar shot in August had a radiation of 13,000 becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg), whereas the limit set by Sweden's Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) for safe consumption is 1,500 Bq/kg.

And another boar, which was shot a while ago but was kept in freezer storage, has just had its radiation level measured at 16,000 Bg/kg, or in other words, more than ten times the safe limit. That animal was killed in Tärnsjö, located between Uppsala and Gävle.


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