Miyagi, Fukushima, to investigate wildlife meat for radioactive contamination from Fukushima Daiichi

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After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident it has become clear that the radioactive contamination has spread to wild animals like wild boar.

Food animals such as cattle has been subject to previous research, now Japan has initiated the first testing of wild animals.

For a look at just how long radioactivity can hang around, consider Germany‘s wild boars.

A quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union carried a cloud of radiation across Europe, these animals are radioactive enough that people are urged not to eat them.

German boars are breeding in forests which are located as far as 1,500 kilometers from Chernobyl. However, the levels of radioactive cesium-137 in pig tissues are tens of times above the normal threshold for consumption.

“We still feel the consequences of Chernobyl here,” said Christian Kueppers, a radiation expert from the Institute of Applied Ecology, Germany, at Freiburg.

Contamination has not disappeared-radioactivity will decrease only slightly from year to year.”

Germany’s experience shows what could await Japan— if the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant get any worse.

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Normal meat has an average contamination of 0.5 becquerel per kilogram, and the average person would normally consume about 100 becquerels per year from plants and dairy products

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In Fukushima Prefecture, in August, an experimental survey was conducted jointly by the NPO and the Society of Friends.  The contamination won’t go away any time soon — with cesium’s half-life being roughly 30 years, theradioactivity will only slightly decrease in the coming years.

Cesium can build up in the body and high levels are thought to be a risk for various other cancers.

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563-3221 Becquerel detected the radioactive cesium per kilogram of meat from wild boar’s head caught in the 12 northeastern province exceeded the national standards for meat of 500 becquerels.

One head was caught showing 2200 Becquerel near Kakuda, Miyagi Prefecture.

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Wildlife is sold for consumption at some restaurants and dealers.

Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures are advised to refrain from using birds and wildlife as food until radioactive contamination is found.

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Cesium also accumulates over time in the soil, which makes boars most susceptible They snuffle through forest soil with their snouts and feed on the kinds of mushroom that tend to store radioactivity.

Miyagi Prefecture from this month, began a survey of wild boar and deer in the Midwest 牡鹿半島 County.

Source: www.yomiuri.co.jp, via Nuclear News | What The Physics?

Transfer of Radiocesium into Wild Boar Meat

The consequences of nuclear accidents can have a long-term effect on some biocenoses. It is caused by the transfer capability of some radionuclides that move from the abiotic environmental components to the biotic component and accumulate in it.
One of them is the 137 Cs radionuclide, i.e. the primary post-Chernobyl nuclide (with its physical half-life of about 30 years), that was shortly accompanied by 134 Cs (with its physical half-life of about 2 years) after the disaster, both with the chemical behaviour similar to that of potassium (Garger et al. 2006; Rajec et al. 2009).

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According to the State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic, the average activities were;

61 Bq·kg-1 from 1992 to June 1997,

588 Bq·kg-1 from July 1997 to 2000,

Followed by reduction to the average of 101 Bq·kg-1 observed during the years 2001 and 2002.

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Specific activities that exceeded 1,250 Bq·kg-1 were randomly detected in boars after the flood in North-Eastern Moravia, i.e. values that exceeded the maximum permissible activity (Decree of SÚJB 2002).

Such values were detected in four specimens (from 1,649 to 7,510 Bq·kg-1).

Materials and Methods

Wild boars weighing 20 to 100 kg originated from two adjacent locations (Šabrava and Dvorce) situated in the Odry Highlands and partly in the Nízký Jeseník mountains.

The landscape is a typical upland (600 m above sea level on the average) with rich spruce forests, at lower altitudes with mixed forests and isolated beech and birch forests, and willows and alders near watercourses.  There are large meadowlands and grasslands situated among individual forests. Arable land is quite rare; small-scale watercourses that formed deep valleys by erosion activity have strongly affected the landscape.

Twenty two muscle samples and eleven samples of the stomach content were taken from wild boars of the weight ranging from 20 to 100 kg from 8 November 2006 to 4 April 2008 to determine the 137Cs specific activities.

Twenty surface land samples were collected from the places rooted by animals and up to a distance of 2 m from them.

All typical food items were collected, i.e. soil, needles, earthworms, beechnuts, rootlets, and mushroom Elaphomyces granulatus). Some additional foods (maize silage, sugar slices and oat) were also included.

The combined relative standard uncertainties were calculated according to the Guide (1993). Details of the system were described by Dvořák et al. (2006).

Results

Higher specific activity of 534 Bq·kg–1 in the soil at the Dvorce location was measured in comparison to the specific activities of 173 Bq·kg–1 in the soil at the Šabrava location.

The specific activity of earthworms was 16 Bq·kg–1, and the specific activity of rootlets collected at the Šabrava location was higher than that of the pure soil of this locality (2,000 Bq·kg–1).

Spruce roots and grass at the Šabrava location achieved the specific activities of 62 and 65 Bq·kg–1 while sedges reached only 24 Bq·kg–1.

The highest specific S-86 activities were measured in Elaphomyces granulatus – underground mushroom at the Šabrava location with the values of 4,743 Bq·kg–1 and 2,858 Bq·kg–1.

The highest activity of muscles was measured in boars killed at the Dvorce location; the average specific activity of 132 Bq·kg-1 was measured in the samples taken on 14/4/2007 and 9/3/2008.

The following results were detected in the samples taken in July 2007 in Dvorce: 89 Bq·kg–1 and 78 Bq·kg-1; and in January 2008 in Dvorce: 64 Bq·kg–1 and 68 Bq·kg-1.

The maximum specific activity of 100 Bq·kg-1 in the stomach content was detected in a boar at the Dvorce location while the corresponding specific activity of 68 Bq·kg-1 was detected in muscle of the same boar.

The highest specific activity was 89 Bq·kg–1 in boar muscle and the corresponding specific activity of the stomach content was below MDA.

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