For the first time, contamination levels of cesium due to the Chernobyl accident in water of highland lakes (and soils from their watersheds) of the Lake Baikal drainage basin, have been measured. The reason for this study was that the main long-range transportation of Chernobyl accident products in an easterly direction took place at high altitudes (above 2 km).

The amount of Chernobyl 137Cs, estimated on the basis of 134Cs content, varied in soils from 2 to 7% in the low-mountain areas, from 13 to 16% in the highlands and from 23 to 34% in the water of highland lakes. The estimated total deposition of cesium in the Baikal drainage basin was estimated to be 0.3% of the total Chernobyl emission.

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