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Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk


Much of the 30km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant is pine forest, and some of it so badly contaminated that a forest fire could create a devastating radioactive smoke cloud.

Heading north from Kiev in Ukraine, you can see old ladies and their grand-daughters sitting waiting expectantly in the long grass, shaded from a sweltering sun, under the straight red eaves of tall, orderly Scots pines which line the road.

It is blueberry season, and they are selling them by the plastic pint glass. You could pull in to haggle, but Sergiy Zibtsev, a professor from the Forestry Institute at the Kiev University of Life Sciences does not recommend it. They are laced with radioactive strontium.

Berries are highly efficient at soaking up and storing radionuclides, huge quantities of which were dispersed over large parts of the Soviet Union and Western Europe

Added: Jul-7-2012 Occurred On: Jul-7-2012
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Tags: chernobyl, radioactive, trees, forest, fire, risk
Location: Chornobyl', Kievs'ka oblast, Ukraine (load item map)
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