Radioactive produce on sale in Moscow 20 years after Chernobyl
Wed Jan 18 2006 08:29:05 ET

Large quantities of radioactive produce still reach market stalls in Moscow from western Russia and Belarus, almost 20 years after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, a local official told the AFP wire on Wednesday.

"Around 830 kilogrammes of radioactive produce was confiscated from Mocow markets in 2005," said Elena Ter-Martirossov, spokeswoman for Radon, the municipal authority which handles the capital's radioactivity security.

The figure for 2004 was 986 kilogrammes, around a tonne in 2003, three tonnes in 2002, and 1.5 tonnes in 2001, she said.

"Most of it comes from markets and consists of mushrooms and berries" from regions affected by the April 1986 explosion in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

"There was a case, involving meat, in a shop two years ago, but it is very rare that shops are affected," she added.

All marketplaces have a laboratory which checks goods before sale, while shops are also inspected, she explained.

If contaminated goods are found, Radon is called in to handle the removal and treatment of these goods which are considered to be radioactive waste.

Mushrooms and berries are more susceptible to radioactivity because they grow very close to the ground and quickly absorb any radioactive particles.


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