BBC News – Since the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Russia 15 years ago, nearby Norway has been monitoring its plants, animals and people for radiation on a regular basis. One animal species still showing signs of radiation poisoning is Norway?s reindeer population. There are about 20,000 reindeer in Norway and their radiation levels are checked annually, since Norwegians like to eat reindeer meat. Only about a 10th of the deer pass the safety tests.

It turns out that this is because reindeer love mushrooms, and mushrooms accumulate cesium, a dangerous element that was released in large amounts during the Chernobyl explosion and is still present in the soil.

The affected deer are fed special food, which contains a cesium binder that gradually removes the poison from their bodies. However, Norwegian officials have also found it necessary to change their standards for how much radiation is acceptable to a level 5 times higher than that of the rest of the European Union.

The Ukraine finally closed the last of the Chernobyl power plants in December, but it was too late to save Rudolph.

Source: BBC News. For full story click here.

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