Ecological half-time and effective dose from chernobyl debris and from nuclear weapons fallout of 137Cs as measured in different Swedish populations

Health Phys. 2006 May;90(5):446-58. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000183141.71491.84.


The fallout in Sweden of radiocesium from nuclear weapons tests during the 1960's (137Cs) and from the Chernobyl accident in 1986 (134Cs and 137Cs) has transferred to humans through different ecological pathways. Data from whole-body burden measurements of 134Cs, 137Cs, and 40K in various Swedish populations between 1964 and 2002 have been compiled. This database enables an evaluation of the temporal and geographical dependence of the transfer of radiocesium from ground deposition to humans and the associated absorbed dose. The body burdens of 137Cs gradually decrease after the peak values reached in 1965 from nuclear weapons fallout and in 1987 from the Chernobyl fallout, but at a varying rate depending on the population. Assuming a dual exponential decrease, a short-term component of typically 1-2 y and a long-term component of 5-10 y are found in urban populations in Sweden. Among reindeer herders and hunters the effective ecological half-time is mono-exponential with a half-time of 5-7 y. The estimated time-integrated effective dose to an individual during a period of 50 y from the Chernobyl fallout is, on average, approximately 10 mSv for reindeer herders, which is 10-100 times higher than the estimated dose received by urban populations in the three major Swedish urban areas (Malmö, Göteborg, and Stockholm).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Burden
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Accident*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Power Plants
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radioactive Fallout / analysis*
  • Radioactive Hazard Release
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Ukraine


  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Radioactive Fallout