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Brandström , Linnea, 2010. 137Cesium i myrsamhällen i Gävleborgs län 24 år efter Tjernobylolyckan. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Soil and Environment



24 years have passed since the Chernobyl accident when radionuclides were spread over large
areas of Europe, including the Scandinavian countries. Today, measurable activities of 137Cs
are still observed in many Swedish ecosystems.

Ants (belonging to the order Hymenoptera) are social insects which collect organic material
from a large area around their nests. This study focuses on the 137Cs activity in ant nests and
the cesium accumulation in these nests. The aims were (1) to estimate the 137Cs fall-out in
1986, (2) estimate the radiation exposure of ants and (3) find how 137Cs is distributed in an ant
hill. Seven ant hills (occupied by the species Formica polyctena) were studied near the village
of Hille, situated north of the city of Gävle in central Sweden. The hills were located in
coniferous forest stands. Samples of ants and material from different vertical layers in the ant
hills were collected. Soil near the ant hills and in a nearby arable field was collected as well.
The 137Cs activity in the samples was measured. A model was used to estimate the radioactive
fall-out in 1986. The 137Cs within the sampling area was estimated at 90 000 Bq/m2 or higher.
These results agree with other studies in the same area.

The different ant hill layers showed an increasing vertical trend with respect to the amount of
radioactivity. The top layer (0-2 cm) was divided in two separate samples by using a sieve
with a 2 mm mesh size. The fine material contained soil particles and spruce needles. The
coarse material contained twigs and pine needles. The 137Cs activity was always higher in the
fine material samples than in the coarse samples. The activity increased by depth. Ants, the
coarse top layer and stump material had low activities compared to the other layers. The
radiation exposure of the ants and ant hills was estimated by a model. An average exposure
and a worst case scenario were estimated. The radiation exposure varied between 0,1 and 8

Main title:137Cesium i myrsamhällen i Gävleborgs län 24 år efter Tjernobylolyckan
Authors:Brandström , Linnea
Supervisor:Rosén, Klas and Lenoir, Lisette
Examiner:Nilsson, Ingvar
Series:Examensarbeten / Institutionen för mark och miljö, SLU
Volume/Sequential designation:2010:12
Year of Publication:2010
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NK001 Biology and Environmental Science - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
Keywords:radioekologi, myror, myrstackar, stråldos, cesium-137, Gävle, Tjernobylolyckan
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Soil biology
Deposited On:09 Nov 2010 11:34
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:16

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