Despite being over 2,000 miles apart, North Wales was directly affected by the huge blast of radioactive particles which were released into the air following the Chernobyl disaster. The most significant way this impacted on the region was the effect it had on livestock, primarily in north western areas. Radiation plumes that blew across Europe in the days after the April 1986 catastrophe reached upland farms of over 53,000 hectares – with the impact lasting for more than 20 years. Just days after the Ukrainian disaster, the UK Government announced a ban on the sale of sheep across parts of the region as well as in Cumbria and Scotland – as the enormity of the problem for farmers became apparent. The protocol was motivated by heavy rain following the explosion, which washed radioactive decay – mostly caesium 137 – out of clouds and on to fields all across the continent. And because of the nature of soil in North Wales, the radioactive particles were absorbed by plants – rather than being locked up in the soil itself. Local sheep grazing on the land then became contaminated by eating the radioactive grass, with restrictions affecting 180,000 sheep. The restrictions in Snowdonia and beyond – which remained in some areas until 2012 – were imposed on more than 300 Welsh farms following concern for the caesium in soil and vegetation in upland areas.
Daily Post 28th May 2019 read more »