Norway: Safeguarding ancestral roots


Norway: safeguarding
ancestral roots



For most of the South Sámi people in central Norway and Sweden reindeer husbandry is still the main livelihood. At the end of April – beginning of May 1986, the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power contaminated their vast mountain grazing areas. The uptake of radiocaesium was particularly high in reindeers. Their whole reindeer dependent culture was threatened by the situation.
Thanks to close cooperation with authorities and scientists in radiation protection and radioecology, most herders became progressively acquainted with measuring their reindeers, feeding them with lichen from less contaminated areas, using cesium-reducing cooking methods, etc., thereby protecting their way of life.




Lavrans Skuterud,
Senior scientist, Norwegian Radiation Protection Agency (NRPA)

We visited herders, goat farmers, sheep farmers, and we experienced the slaughtering of reindeers… We have a lot of experience in Norway on practical consequences of fallouts for the local population, for farmers, for food production, and also on the management: regulations, compensations, etc. I think this has much relevance for Japanese farmers or food producers. Be it a reindeer, be it a sheep, be it a sansai… It’s much about culture, food, lifestyle, the fundamentals in our daily lives.”

Learning from Chernobyl: The experience feedback from Belarus and Norway


Learning from Chernobyl:

The experience feedback from Belarus and Norway


On April 26th, 1986, a violent blast destroyed the containment building of reactor n°4 at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, blowing unprecedented amounts of radioactive materials into the biosphere. Within days, the contaminated air plume spread over most parts of the European continent, following the changes in wind direction. Rain and snow deposited significant amounts of radioactivity on the ground in many countries, particularly the neighboring Belarus, but also far away, e.g. in Norway. The local residents were strongly impacted.

Fostering a self-help spirit


a self-help spirit



Prof. Iossif Bogdevitch,
Belarusian Research Institute for Soil Science and Agrochemistry (BRISSA)

The merit of the Ethos approach was to create a positive spirit among inhabitants of villages contaminated by radioactivity, changing their mindset from feeling as a victim from the disaster to feeling empowered to manage the situation.”



In Belarus, many people were evacuated at the time of the accident and relocated temporally or permanently. Despite a strong mobilization of authorities and experts the situation of the population that stayed in the contaminated territories has continued to deteriorate over the following years due to the collapse of the Soviet regime.

From the nineties the international community has mobilized to help the affected populations. It is in this context that foreign experts together with local authorities and professionals participated in initiatives aiming at rehabilitating the living conditions in the contaminated areas based on the direct involvement of the inhabitants in the day-to-day management of the radiological situation.