Atlas on the caesium deposition across Europe after the Chernobyl accident (JSP6)


    After the Chernobyl accident various compilations have been made of the contamination of particular countries or regions in Europe resulting from the radioactive material released during the accident. These compilations have been made for different purposes and consequently there are significant differences in their resolution and quality. In many cases improved data have since been, and continue to be, obtained through more refined and extensive monitoring, in particular in those areas where greater contamination occurred.
    A comprehensive atlas of the caesium contamination across Europe was published by the tenth anniversary of the accident. In addition to the more obvious interest in and use of the factual content of the atlas, it was expected to provide most useful and needed perspective, especially in the former Soviet Union, for judging the significance of the contamination. The compilation of the atlas was performed within the Joint Study Project 6 (JSP6) of the CEC/CIS Collaborative Programme on the Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident which was implemented within the European Commission's Radiation Protection Research Action.
    Data were collected from all over Europe and, after data validation and inter-comparison, maps were electronically prepared by scientists of the above mentioned institutes, using a geographic information system for the calculation of the isolines.


The caesium deposition is presented on more than 60 full color maps, with explanatory text.
The atlas is divided into the following main sections:

  • The Introductory section, which puts natural and artificial radiation into perspective;
  • The Data section where caesium deposition is presented by means of isolines. The information is presented at three geographic levels:
    1. European level: contains general information about the deposition pattern throughout Europe;
    2. Country level: maps of each country with a scale varying between 1:1,000,000 and 1:2,500,000, containing more geographical and radiological details in order to reflect the national situation;
    3. Local zone level: special attention is given to those areas with higher levels of deposition (i.e. parts of Scandinavia, the Alps, Greece, Rumania, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine by means of large scale maps (1:500,000 - 1:250,000).
  • The meteorological section which shows a series of daily maps of meteorological information for the two weeks period immediately following the accident;
  • The reference section contains supporting information, i.e. elevation, vegetation, soil and population of Europe at a scale of approximately 1:20,000,000;
  • The Technical annexes contain technical information associated with the Atlas, e.g. sampling and measuring techniques used by each country and summaries of the data compilation and interpolation procedures.


The radiological data were provided by participating scientific institutes and competent authorities of more than thirty European countries and have been integrated in an information platform by the EC Joint Research Centre Ispra (JRC-Ispra, EC), Roshydromet (Moscow, Russia), the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology (Moscow, Russia), the Committee for Hydrometeorology (Minsk, Belarus) and Minchernobyl (Kiev, Ukraine).

The Atlas can be downloaded from the following links:

English version

Russian version