THE TV drama series ‘Chernobyl’, which has been airing in recent weeks, has had people locally remembering the effects of the radiation from the disaster on the Glenwherry area.
The tv drama is based on the real-life events following the nuclear power plant explosion of the mid-1980s.
Despite being almost 2,000 miles away from Chernobyl, radiation was carried to Glenwherry and after it came down with rain restrictions were put in place regarding sheep movements.
The disaster in 1986 affected 10,000 UK farms and more than four million sheep.
For several years, before farmers could sell livestock, the animals’ radiation levels had to be monitored and if they were above a certain level the levels had to subside before they could be sold and consumed.
At Glenwherry this week, one local man told ‘Ballymena Daily’ he remembered the impact of the “fall-out” as he described it.
Another local man said: “Even more than thirty years on it is incredible to think that something that happened 2,000 miles away could have had such an impact here. The TV show has put it back to the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA), told ‘Ballymena Daily’ on Friday: “In the period following notification to the UK of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in May 1986, monitoring of a variety of samples including drinking water, a range of vegetation, milk and some fruits and vegetables was carried out by the then Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland (DANI).
“Monitoring of live animals on farms for radioactivity was carried out using a scheme known as the “Mark and Release” scheme and restrictions were imposed on the sale of animals for meat from a number of farms in NI.
“Over time the radioactivity in these areas declined and the geographical regions restricted were reduced accordingly. The last of these restrictions were lifted in 2000.
“DAERA continues to carry out monitoring of a range of environmental samples for artificial radionuclides in Northern Ireland and results from this monitoring are published annually in the RIFE report (Radioactivity in the Food and Environment), along with radionuclide levels in other regions within the UK.
“Results in the most recent RIFE report demonstrate exposure of the Northern Ireland public to ionising radiation from radioactive discharges (including historical releases) is negligible.”