The environmental organization Global 2000 found alarmingly high levels of the radioisotope cesium-137 in chanterelles from the Stubwiesalm near Spital am Phyrn (Kirchdorf district) in Upper Austria, which resulted from the Chernobyl fallout 35 years ago. 7,563 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq / kg) were measured, which is more than twelve times the limit of 600 Bq / kg applicable in the EU, Global 2000 reported on Wednesday.
Since the reactor accident in 1986, the radioactive cesium has sunk from the soil surface to the layers below, but from there it can be absorbed by fungi, for example, and accumulated in them. Animals that eat these mushrooms can be very stressed as a result. In humans, when cesium-137 enters the body through food, mainly in muscles, it can cause genetic damage or cancer. The half-life is 30.1 years.
The environmental organization called on Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) to provide clear information about where mushrooms can be enjoyed without any problems and “where, for precautionary reasons, it is better not to go looking for mushrooms in the forest”. Because according to the Ministry of Health, around twelve percent of chanterelles have exceeded their limit values.
In addition, Global 2000 insists on the shutdown of the Krško nuclear power station near the border. Because this is only 71 kilometers away from the Austrian border. Chernobyl, to which the current contamination can be traced, is, however, 1,000 kilometers away. An accident “in the decrepit Krško reactor in the Slovenian earthquake area” would, according to the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, have a high probability of causing “a very high level of contamination of Austria with radioactive fallout”. In a fifth of the possible weather situations, one would have to reckon with more than 37,000 Becquerel cesium-137 per square meter, according to Global 2000.