Data comprise radionuclide activity concentrations, stable element concentrations and both radionuclide and stable element concentration ratios for vegetation and wildlife samples collected in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) in 2014. Estimated absorbed dose rates for wildlife in the CEZ are also presented.
Samples of soil, wild grass, earthworms, bees and other insects, small mammals, pine trees and frogs were collected in May and June 2014; frogspawn was collected in April 2015. Data were used to assess the uptake of radionuclides by wildlife living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) and also absorbed dose rates.
The isotopes measured were: Americium-241, Caesium-137, Plutonium-238, -239 and -240, Strontium-90 (K-40 and U-238 activity concentrations were estimated from stable element data).
Funding for this work was via the TREE project funded by the NERC, Environment Agency and Radioactive Waste Management Ltd. under the RATE programme.
Publication date: 2018-02-20
The sampling site (0.4 km2) was located towards the western edge of the ‘Red Forest’, approximately 5 km west-southwest of the Chernobyl Unit Number 4). The site was not within the area where pine trees were killed by high exposure levels in 1986. Most of the site was formerly used as kitchen gardens (‘dacha’) by the residents of Pripyat. With the exception of Pinus sylvestris, all samples were collected from an area of the former kitchen gardens with a number of fruit trees which was about 0.06 km2 in area; this is subsequently referred to as the ‘inner sampling area’. The predominant soil type of the sampling site was soddy-podzolic sandy loam and the surrounding habitats were largely deciduous woodland (some of which was previously agricultural land) and marsh.
All samples were collected over a period of about 1 month in May/June 2014. Although sampling was focussed on species falling into the ICRP RAP definitions (after Barnett et al. 2014), additional species caught were analysed for 90Sr and 137Cs activity concentrations.
Sample types include wild grass, pine tree, earthworm, bee and other insects, small mammals (mice, vole, doormouse, shrew), amphibians and soil.