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Scientific journal publication

Modeling the Dynamic Behavior of Radiocesium in Grazing Reindeer

Skuterud, Lavrans; Hevrøy, Tanya Helena; Thørring, Håvard; Ytre-Eide, Martin Album

Publication details

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 56, 12116–12125, 2022

Doi: doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c00280

Radiocesium contamination in Norwegian reindeer and the factors influencing contamination levels have been studied for more than 50 years, providing significant amounts of data. Monitoring contamination in reindeer is of utmost importance for reindeer husbandry and herders in Norway and will need to be studied for many years because of the persistent contamination levels due to the 1986 Chernobyl fallout. This paper presents a novel dynamic model that takes advantage of the large data sets that have been collected for reindeer monitoring to estimate 137Cs in reindeer meat at any given time. The model has been validated using detailed 137Cs data from one of the herds most affected by the fallout. The model basis includes detailed 137Cs soil data from aerial surveys, GPS-based knowledge of reindeer migration, and local soil-to-vegetation 137Cs transfer information. The validation exercise shows that the model satisfactorily predicts both short- and long-term changes in 137Cs concentrations in reindeer meat and suggests that the model will be a useful tool in estimating seasonal changes and evaluating possible remedial actions in case of a future fallout event.