BERLIN – For a look at just how long radioactivity can hang around, consider Germany's wild boars.
A quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union carried a cloud of radiation across Europe, these animals are radioactive enough that people are urged not to eat them. And the mushrooms the pigs dine on aren't fit for consumption either.
Germany's experience shows what could await Japan — if the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant get any worse.
The German boars roam in forests nearly 950 miles (1,500 kilometers ) from Chernobyl. Yet, the amount of radioactive cesium-137 within their tissue often registers dozens of times beyond the recommended limit for consumption and thousands of times above normal.
"We still feel the consequences of Chernobyl's fallout here," said Christian Kueppers, a radiation expert at Germany's Institute for Applied Ecology in Freiburg.