The assessment of the April 2020 chernobyl wildfires and their impact on Cs-137 levels in Belgium and The Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Institutes & Expert groups

  • RIVM - National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
  • RMI - Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
  • KNMI - Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut - Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstraat

Documents & links


In April 2020, several wildfires took place in and around the Chernobyl exclusion zone. These fires reintroduced radioactive particles deposited during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster into the atmosphere, causing concern about a possible radiation hazard. Several countries and several stations of the International Monitoring System measured increased 137Cs levels. This study presents the analyses made by RIVM and SCK CEN/RMI during the April 2020 wildfires. Furthermore, more in-depth research was performed after the wildfires. A statistical analysis of 137Cs detections is presented, comparing the April 2020 detections with historical detections. Inverse atmospheric transport modelling is applied to infer the total released 137Cs during the wildfires. Finally, it is assessed whether the 137Cs detections in Belgium and the Netherlands can be attributed to the wildfires.


Original languageEnglish
Article number106688
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of environmental radioactivity
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021


  • Chernobyl wildfires, Cs-137, ATM, Resuspension

ID: 7157611