Chernobyl - is Lake District water safe

Discussion in 'Hydration, Hygiene & Health' started by PhilHo, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I'd wondered why Bananaman wasn't on TV anymore. :)
  2. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    When I was doing GCSE pottery in my school, they had a glaze chemical cupboard that was generally left unlocked. I created what my mum called the cat sick pot. Turns out uranium oxide and thorium don't make the best glaze if you just blend them willy nilly.
    I may have mentioned all the radioactive stuff to one of the schools cleaners. They then refused to clean the art/ceramics classrooms and that was the beginning of the end of the pottery dept.
    Did get to play with a gieger counter though. Levels were much less than the limit of double the background level I was told would be an issue.
    When the dept was shut and everything sold off some guy just turned up and picked up thejam jars of uranium etc, don't think that would happen these days! Let alone letting 14-15 year olds free access.
  3. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Trail Blazer

  4. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Bananas also produce anti-matter. One positron every 75 minutes :rolleyes:
  5. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Never did trust bananas!
    Robin likes this.
  6. Lempo

    Lempo Section Hiker

    Skurka's Beans & Rice also produce lethal emissions.
    cathyjc and Diddi like this.
  7. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    So are you OK to drink Lake District and Welsh water if you don't eat bananas?
  8. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    You'd be Bananas to drink it ! Lol
  9. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    A Sawyer S3 filter should work reasonably and it probably wouldn't hurt to add a large portion of broccoli to one's main meal either.
  10. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    Believe that also included Wales at the said time too, but seemed more concerned of live stock.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  11. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I was being specific because I have no plans to wild camp in Wales.
  12. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    In disbelief of this thread....from a lad that used to drink Beck watta that flowed from below the local pit... Ive More things to worry about other than is the water in the tarns and springs of the lakes safe to drink due to Chernobyl.
    I'm more worried about the legitimacy of my himalayan pink salt :D
    Diddi likes this.
  13. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Very funny :)
    Chiseller likes this.
  14. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
    cathyjc likes this.
  15. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Yeah. Strange how that cloud from Chernobyl headed east to Cumbria, took a pee over Sellafield, then did a left turn and headed for Wales, and took another leak over the Wylfa Magnox station....
    PhilHo, Teepee and cathyjc like this.
  16. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Having watched the TV series (great, but I worry it might put people off nuclear...) I was a little surprised to find out the reactors surrounding the one that went wrong kept going for years, even thru the crisis I think. Fun commute!
  17. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Trail Blazer

    Yep, they were finally closed a few years ago. I think some kind of UNECE or EU money or something had to fund the shutdown, as Ukraine is basically bust and could neither afford the closure costs nor alternative energy sources.
  18. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    The company my wife works for decommissions nuclear power plants, as well as many other activities, pricy I hear,!
  19. Bob-W

    Bob-W Summit Camper

    I was still living on the family farm in Cumbria when Chernobyl happened. Very selective fallout areas :wink: One of the jokes, memes these days, going around at the time was that farmers would test higher for radioactivity by an order of magnitude more than their sheep!

    I wouldn't be worried about the water. Due to a quirk of the local ground being nutrient poor the radiation is kept within the vegetation which is why the restrictions have lasted so long - until the animals graze and thus remove the Caesium it's locked in.

    "In the nutrient poor uplands of the Lake District, native grasses and heathers survive by carefully safeguarding what minerals are available. Elements – which in 1986 including Caesium – are taken up by the roots and then circulated to the succulent shoot tips during the growing season. However, they are not lost when the plant sheds its leaves in the Autumn. Instead they are sucked back into the woody, permanent tissues, to be stored for re-use in the Spring. By another quirk of nature, Caesium was readily absorbed by Cumbrian hill vegetation because of a lack of potassium in the upland soil.

    Scientists discovered that plants in potassium deficient areas have a Caesium take up rate that is 12 times greater than those plants growing in potassium rich soil. Even more bizarrely, many of Cumbria’s hillside plants enjoy ‘symbiotic’ relationships with ‘mycorrhizal fungi’ – tiny plants that survive by assisting the host plant to take up minerals. In the case of Cumbrian heather, these fungi helped move Caesium from the roots to the shoot tips on which the sheep fed. Even the lack of clay in our upland soil, a material that binds Caesium and hinders root absorption meant that vegetation could easily access this radioactive ion."

    Even before Chernobyl, fishmongers in the area would have signs: "Not locally caught".
    Diddi, cathyjc, FOX160 and 1 other person like this.
  20. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Summit Camper

    I've attached a link below from L'Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety), the watchdog body for Nuclear matters in France. France has 58 nuclear reactors generating 75% of their energy, so they know their stuff.

    https://www.irsn.fr/EN/publications/thematic-safety/chernobyl/Pages/The-Chernobyl-Plume.aspx

    The video on the IRSN page shows the model of the Caesium-157 fallout plume over Western Europe. Looking at this, the plume passed over the UK from south to north for around 66 hours between the 2nd and 4th May 1986. London got a higher dose of Cs-157 passing over than the Lake District. More fallout dropped on France than the UK. I live in SW France, and no, I don't glow in the dark (mind you, I live at the foot of the Pyrenees which avoided the plume, can't speak for the Parisiens ;)). You've got far more to worry about if you were in the Alps, Scandinavia, Turkey or the Black Sea area at the time. Most of the radio nasties were held in the atmosphere and only washed out when it rained, or landed on higher elevations on the peaky bits that stick up. Generally, the further from Chernobyl the plume travelled, the lower the amount of radioactivity. In Cumbria, what wasn't taken up by the vegetation would have washed out into the water system and eventually down to the sea to be diluted to insignificance. But hey, information like that doesn't sell papers, does it?

    I've looked into this quite a bit, 'cos I studied geology at Hull Uni from 1985-1988, and we did our Lake District field trip in - you got it - May 1986. Of myself and the 3 students I stayed in close touch with who were there, I have had breast cancer, one died of a brain tumour at the age of 48, one has serious thyroid issues. Coincidence? Hmmmm.......

    If you look at a background radioactivity map of the UK such as http://wordpress.mrreid.org/2011/12/28/radiation-in-the-uk/ it's fairly obvious that the Lake District is at the lower end of the background scale. Although this site gives Cornwall as the highest background area, from memory, the most radioactive spot in the UK is Treak Cliff in Derbyshire, due to the high level of Vanadium in the Edale Shales which are exposed there (and yeah, I've done field trips there too, as well as the Highlands, the Strontian Hills, Cornwall, you name it, if it's radioactive, I've smashed it with a hammer!)

    Obviously you can add geologist to the risk list of white, affluent, middle-class, middle aged, able-bodied ramblers!!!!!!!!!:roflmao::roflmao::roflmao:
    OwenM, Diddi, Enzo and 2 others like this.
  21. OwenM

    OwenM Ultralighter

    So, do I take it we're all DOOMED!!!
  22. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Summit Camper

    Life is a sexually transmitted fatal disease, so yup, we're all toast :p
    cathyjc and OwenM like this.
  23. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Dave Allen was asked if the large drinks he always had on set were real or coloured water.

    "Water?" He exclaimed. "Fish f@$k in that don't they?"
    cathyjc, OwenM and Heltrekker like this.

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