Radioactive chernobyl mushrooms, 1 October 2012. 'Wasnt too bad actually, moss seems to concentrate Cs-137 more than mushrooms.' Photo: bionerd23 / flickr

By Geert De Clercq
30 November 2017

PARIS (Reuters) – France has stopped a large shipment of Belarus mushrooms contaminated with low-level radioactivity probably from Chernobyl and not linked to a radioactive cloud that appeared in southern Russia last month, officials said on Thursday.

Earlier, the head of French nuclear regulator ASN Pierre-Franck Chevet told the French senate that traces of cesium had been found on imported mushrooms from Russia and did not mention Belarus.

A spokesman for French nuclear safety institute IRSN said that a few days ago customs officials found that a 3.5 tonne shipment of Belarus mushrooms coming through Frankfurt, Germany was contaminated with cesium 137, a radioactive nuclide that is a waste product of nuclear reactors.

While the contaminated mushrooms did not represent a health threat to consumers, the shipment will be destroyed in a specialized incinerator in coming days, the IRSN said. […]

The official said it was highly unusual for such a large shipment of mushrooms to be stopped and that none of the produce had made it onto French retail markets.

Mushrooms, more than any other vegetable, concentrate radioactivity because their thread-like root systems spread over a large area for several meters on the surface around the plant.

The IRSN said eating tens of kilos of the Belarus mushrooms would expose a consumer to a radioactivity level similar to natural ambient radioactivity during a whole year. [more]

France stops large shipment of radioactive Belarus mushrooms



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