Norway's Radioactive Reindeer

Thirty years ago, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster took place, releasing massive amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere, which drifted across much of Russia and Europe. Today, Sami reindeer herders in central Norway are still affected by the fallout, as their herds feed on contaminated lichen and mushrooms. As reported by Amos Chapple and Wojtek Grojec, in this story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Reindeer meat is a mainstay in the Scandinavian diet. The meat from one reindeer currently fetches around $400 for the Sami herders. But only if the deer isn’t too radioactive to eat.” Even though Norwegian authorities enforce a relatively high contamination limit for food (3,000 becquerels per kilogram—compared the EU limit of 600), some years—even as recently as 2014—reindeer pulled aside for slaughter have to be released back into the wild because they are too radioactive.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    A Weekend of Protest in St. Louis

    On Friday, a judge in St. Louis found Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man named Anthony Lamar Smith.

  • Edgard Garrido / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 9/9–9/15

    Hurricanes Jose and Irma, an earthquake in Mexico, Cassini’s grand finale above Saturn, and much more

  • Mats Andersson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

    Finalists from the annual photo competition produced by the Natural History Museum in London

  • Caribbean Buzz Helicopters via AP

    The Wreckage Left in Irma's Path Across the Caribbean and Southeastern United States

    Days after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and several U.S. states, government officials and residents are beginning to assess the widespread damage, pick up the pieces, and figure out their next steps.

Join the Discussion