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Dr. Timothy Mousseau reports the decline of organisms in contaminated areas

Contrary to the mass media newsroom stories on the abundance of wildlife in Chernobyl exclusion zone, Dr. Timothy Mousseau reports the decline of organisms in contaminated areas. Result of the technological stupidity and ignorance of the mankind!

Watched the video:

https://vimeo.com/164193914

April 28, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear | | Leave a comment

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

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Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl’s Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the ‘official’ perception of Chernobyl’s silent forests as a thriving nature reserve.

Dr Timothy Mousseau has published more than 90 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, related to the effects of radiation in natural populations (and more than 200 publications in total).

He has spent 16 years looking at the effects on wildlife and the ecosystem of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

He and his colleagues have also spent the last five years studying how non-human biota is faring in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in Japan.

But none of this work has received anything like the high profile publicity afforded the ‘findings’ in the 2006 Chernobyl Forum report which claimed the Chernobyl zone “has become a wildlife sanctuary”, and a subsequent article published in Current Biology in 2015 that said wildlife was “thriving” around Chernobyl.

“I suppose everyone loves a Cinderella story”, speculated Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist based at the University of South Carolina. “They want that happy ending.” But Mousseau felt sure the moment he read the Forum report, which, he noted, “contained few scientific citations”, that the findings “could not possibly be true.”

Ninety articles later, Mousseau and his research partners from around the world are able to demonstrate definitively and scientifically that non-human biota in both the Chernobyl zone and around Fukushima, are very far indeed from flourishing.

Far from flourishing around Chernobyl, birds and animals are fading

What Mousseau found was not unexpected given the levels of radiation in these areas and what is already known about the medical effects of such long-term exposures. Birds and rodents had a high frequency of tumors.

“Cancers are the first thing we think about”, Mousseau said. “We looked at birds and mice. In areas of higher radiation, the frequency of tumors is higher.” The research team has found mainly liver and bladder tumors in the voles and tumors on the head, body and wings of the birds studied, he said.

But Mousseau wanted to look beyond cancers, which is what everyone expects to find and what researchers had looked for, but only in humans. There were few wildlife studies, a fact Mousseau found surprising, given nature’s ability to act as a sentinel for likely impending human health impacts.

Mousseau and his fellow researchers found cataracts in birds and rodents. Male birds had a high rate of sterility. And the brains of birds were smaller. All of these are known outcomes from radiation exposure.

“Cataracts in birds is a problem”, Mousseau said. “A death sentence.”

Mental retardation has been found among children exposed to radiation in utero. Mousseau and colleagues discovered the same pattern in the birds they studied. “Birds already have small brains, so a smaller brain size is a definite disadvantage”, he said.

Almost 40% of male birds examined were sterile

There were also just fewer animals in general. “There were many fewer mammals, birds and insects in areas of higher radiation”, Mousseau said. And they had their hunch as to why.

He and his colleagues extracted sperm from the male birds they caught and were shocked to find that “up to 40% of male birds in the radiologically hottest areas were sterile.”

The birds’ sperm were either deformed or dead. None would be able to reproduce. The discovery, he said, was “not at all surprising. These are the levels of radiation known to influence reproduction. At the same time, there is no safe level of radiation below which there aren’t detectable effects.”

Fewer birds have already been observed in the contaminated areas around Fukushima, said Mousseau. “Although it’s too early to assess the long term impact on abundance and diversity around Fukushima, there are very few butterflies and many birds have declined in the more contaminated areas. If abundance is compressed, biodiversity will follow.”

Five years into the still on-going Fukushima disaster, Mousseau’s research continues to uncover “a dramatic reduction in the number of birds and numbers of species in areas of high radiation”, he said.

At least in that region, Japan could be headed toward a Silent Spring.

No doubt that Fukushima and Chernobyl are causing genetic damage

The consequences of radiation exposure, says Mousseau, “will have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of these animals, and the length of quality of life. It need not necessarily be cancers”, that cause these damages he said. “There is no doubt that the levels of radiation in Chernobyl and Fukushima generate genetic damage.”

A study by Mousseau et al. that did get some attention, most notably from the Smithsonian Institution, found disturbing changes in the decomposition of organic matter in the Chernobyl Zone.

Fungi and other microorganisms are decomposing at half the usual rate. Trees fall but rot unusually slowly. Leaf matter piles up without much decay, creating a tinder-box risk in the event of forest fires, several of which have occurred in the Zone.

“There is an accumulation of highly radioactive organic matter” in these areas, Mousseau said. All of this could be lofted into the air during a forest fire and redistributed as radiological contamination elsewhere, he points out.

Indeed, a map in an April 2006 edition of National Geographic Magazine, shows that this has already happened, expanding the Chernobyl Zone from its original 30km radius. High-altitude winds swept radioactive smoke and ash across a wider area, which scientists traced from soil levels of cesium 137, a long-lived isotope,” read the map’s caption. Major forest fires in the Chernobyl Zone in 2010 and 2015 have likely worsened the situation.

While the radiation spread by Chernobyl fell mostly on land, where it is easier to study the medical effects on humans and animals, the initial Fukushima radioactive plume blew mainly out to sea. And since 2011 when the accident began, further dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific has occurred.

A responsibility to protect the environment and wildlife, not just man

This has led to speculation – and some unscientific and alarmist rumors – that sea life in the Pacific is collapsing due to the Fukushima radiation.

“Catastrophic marine events started 40-50 years ago”, Mousseau points out. “Bird populations in the Pacific were in decline long before Fukushima.”

One important cause, says Mousseau, is “plastics in the environment that are consumed by marine animals which were in downward spirals long before the Fukushima accident.” Marine population decline has likely also been “compounded by climate change”, he says.

Indeed, Mousseau, who grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, remembers the local harbor encrusted with star fish when he was a child. Recently, when he took his son there, he found none.

Fukushima cannot necessarily be blamed, as some would wish, but the compounding and potentially synergistic effect of radiation in the Pacific could still be taking its toll, Mousseau avowed.

“We don’t know how different environmental stresses interact with each other”, he said. “They could be synergistic and related. There is almost no research on this even in the Pacific off Fukushima – virtually nothing on the biological consequences in really contaminated areas.”

With “little real science” to rely on, Mousseau says, “we will never know” just how much marine damage the Fukushima disaster may do.

He finds the continued lack of other independent animal studies in radioactive zones frustrating. “We have a responsibility to protect the environment and wildlife, not just man”, he said. It may be expensive and difficult to conduct these kinds of studies, but, says Mousseau, “that is not an excuse.”

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987598/blind_mice_and_bird_brains_the_silent_spring_of_chernobyl_and_fukushima.html

 

 

April 28, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear | , , , , | Leave a comment

At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife

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White storks on road near Chernobyl, Ukraine. Many parts of the Chernobyl region have low radioactivity levels and serve as refuges for plants and animals. Tim Mousseau, Author provided

The largest nuclear disaster in history occurred 30 years ago at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in what was then the Soviet Union. The meltdown, explosions and nuclear fire that burned for 10 days injected enormous quantities of radioactivity into the atmosphere and contaminated vast areas of Europe and Eurasia. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that Chernobyl released 400 times more radioactivity into the atmosphere than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

Radioactive cesium from Chernobyl can still be detected in some food products today. And in parts of central, eastern and northern Europe many animals, plants and mushrooms still contain so much radioactivity that they are unsafe for human consumption.

The first atomic bomb exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico more than 70 years ago. Since then, more than 2,000 atomic bombs have been tested, injecting radioactive materials into the atmosphere. And over 200 small and large accidents have occurred at nuclear facilities. But experts and advocacy groups are still fiercely debating the health and environmental consequences of radioactivity.

However, in the past decade population biologists have made considerable progress in documenting how radioactivity affects plants, animals and microbes. My colleagues and I have analyzed these impacts at Chernobyl, Fukushima and naturally radioactive regions of the planet.

Our studies provide new fundamental insights about consequences of chronic, multigenerational exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation. Most importantly, we have found that individual organisms are injured by radiation in a variety of ways. The cumulative effects of these injuries result in lower population sizes and reduced biodiversity in high-radiation areas.

Broad impacts at Chernobyl

Radiation exposure has caused genetic damage and increased mutation rates in many organisms in the Chernobyl region. So far, we have found little convincing evidence that many organisms there are evolving to become more resistant to radiation.

Organisms’ evolutionary history may play a large role in determining how vulnerable they are to radiation. In our studies, species that have historically shown high mutation rates, such as the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), the icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina) and the Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), are among the most likely to show population declines in Chernobyl. Our hypothesis is that species differ in their ability to repair DNA, and this affects both DNA substitution rates and susceptibility to radiation from Chernobyl.

Much like human survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, birds and mammals at Chernobyl have cataracts in their eyes and smaller brains. These are direct consequences of exposure to ionizing radiation in air, water and food. Like some cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy, many of the birds have malformed sperm. In the most radioactive areas, up to 40 percent of male birds are completely sterile, with no sperm or just a few dead sperm in their reproductive tracts during the breeding season.

Tumors, presumably cancerous, are obvious on some birds in high-radiation areas. So are developmental abnormalities in some plants and insects.

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Chernobyl reactor No. 4 building, encased in steel and concrete to limit radioactive contamination.

Given overwhelming evidence of genetic damage and injury to individuals, it is not surprising that populations of many organisms in highly contaminated areas have shrunk. In Chernobyl, all major groups of animals that we surveyed were less abundant in more radioactive areas. This includes birds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, grasshoppers, spiders and large and small mammals.

Not every species shows the same pattern of decline. Many species, including wolves, show no effects of radiation on their population density. A few species of birds appear to be more abundant in more radioactive areas. In both cases, higher numbers may reflect the fact that there are fewer competitors or predators for these species in highly radioactive areas.

Moreover, vast areas of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are not presently heavily contaminated, and appear to provide a refuge for many species. One report published in 2015 described game animals such as wild boar and elk as thriving in the Chernobyl ecosystem. But nearly all documented consequences of radiation in Chernobyl and Fukushima have found that individual organisms exposed to radiation suffer serious harm.

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Map of the Chernobyl region of Ukraine. Note the highly heterogeneous deposition patterns of radioactivity in the region. Areas of low radioactivity provide refuges for wildlife in the region.

There may be exceptions. For example, substances called antioxidants can defend against the damage to DNA, proteins and lipids caused by ionizing radiation. The levels of antioxidants that individuals have available in their bodies may play an important role in reducing the damage caused by radiation. There is evidence that some birds may have adapted to radiation by changing the way they use antioxidants in their bodies.

Parallels at Fukushima

Recently we have tested the validity of our Chernobyl studies by repeating them in Fukushima, Japan. The 2011 power loss and core meltdown at three nuclear reactors there released about one-tenth as much radioactive material as the Chernobyl disaster.

Overall, we have found similar patterns of declines in abundance and diversity of birds, although some species are more sensitive to radiation than others. We have also found declines in some insects, such as butterflies, which may reflect the accumulation of harmful mutations over multiple generations.

Our most recent studies at Fukushima have benefited from more sophisticated analyses of radiation doses received by animals. In our most recent paper, we teamed up with radioecologists to reconstruct the doses received by about 7,000 birds. The parallels we have found between Chernobyl and Fukushima provide strong evidence that radiation is the underlying cause of the effects we have observed in both locations.

Some members of the radiation regulatory community have been slow to acknowledge how nuclear accidents have harmed wildlife. For example, the U.N.-sponsored Chernobyl Forum instigated the notion that the accident has had a positive impact on living organisms in the exclusion zone because of the lack of human activities. A more recent report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation predicts minimal consequences for the biota animal and plant life of the Fukushima region.

Unfortunately these official assessments were largely based on predictions from theoretical models, not on direct empirical observations of the plants and animals living in these regions. Based on our research, and that of others, it is now known that animals living under the full range of stresses in nature are far more sensitive to the effects of radiation than previously believed. Although field studies sometimes lack the controlled settings needed for precise scientific experimentation, they make up for this with a more realistic description of natural processes.

Our emphasis on documenting radiation effects under “natural” conditions using wild organisms has provided many discoveries that will help us to prepare for the next nuclear accident or act of nuclear terrorism. This information is absolutely needed if we are to protect the environment not just for man, but also for the living organisms and ecosystem services that sustain all life on this planet.

There are currently more than 400 nuclear reactors in operation around the world, with 65 new ones under construction and another 165 on order or planned. All operating nuclear power plants are generating large quantities of nuclear waste that will need to be stored for thousands of years to come. Given this, and the probability of future accidents or nuclear terrorism, it is important that scientists learn as much as possible about the effects of these contaminants in the environment, both for remediation of the effects of future incidents and for evidenced-based risk assessment and energy policy development.

https://theconversation.com/at-chernobyl-and-fukushima-radioactivity-has-seriously-harmed-wildlife-57030

April 28, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear accidents make mutant bugs and birds

Biologist Timothy Mousseau has spent years collecting mutant bugs, birds and mice around Chernobyl and Fukushima. In a DW interview, he shares some surprising insights into the effects of nuclear accidents on wildlife.

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DW: Professor Timothy Mousseau, did you collect these mutant firebugs [pictured at the top of the page]?

Timothy Mousseau: Yes, the firebugs are really an eye-opener. My research partner Anders Moller and I were visiting Chernobyl on April 26, 2011. We were wandering around Pripyat collecting flowers, to study their pollen, when Anders reached down to the ground and pulled up this little bug with red and black markings. He said: “Tim, look, it’s a mutant – it’s missing an eye spot!”

From then on we started collecting these little bugs in each place we visited, from the most contaminated parts of the Red Forest to relatively clean areas in abandoned villages. Eventually we had several hundred of these little critters. It was very obvious that deformed patterns were much more prevalent in areas of high contamination.

This is just one of many similar anecdotes about the deformed critters of Chernobyl. Literally every rock we turn over, we find a signal of the mutagenic properties of the radiation in the region.

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A pair of great tit birds collected near Chernobyl – left is normal, the individual on the right has a facial tumor

Is there a threshold of radiation below which there’s no effect?

The impact of radiation on rates of mutation, cancer and mortality varies a good deal by species. But statistically, there’s a simple relationship with dose. Small dose, small effect; big dose, big effect. There doesn’t appear to be a threshold below which there’s no effect.

Interestingly, organisms living in nature are much more sensitive to radiation than lab animals – comparing mice raised in labs and mice in the wild, exposed to identical levels of ionizing radiation, the mortality rate among wild mice is eight or 10 times that of lab mice. It’s because lab animals are protected from most stressors – like cold or hunger.

Are plants and trees affected too?

Yes, we’ve collected a lot of deformed pollen. Seen a lot of deformed trees, too. Pines often show growth-form abnormalities, even in normal areas with no radionucleotide contamination. Sometimes it’s an insect infestation, sometimes a hard freeze at the wrong time – you can find such anomalies anywhere.

But in contaminated areas of Ukraine, we have a correlation between frequency of abnormality and the Chernobyl event. It’s pretty strong evidence. There was a recent paper showing a very similar phenomenon in Fukushima. The trees there are very young, but will likely also be twisted up in knots 30 years from now!

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Mousseau’s field crew collecting pollen and insect samples on the left, with the Chernobyl reactor in the distance. Right, a mutant pine tree at Chernobyl

What are the long-term effects of radiation on animal or plant species in contaminated areas? They’ve had their genomes altered. Will mutants persist?

Well, in the long run, no. The thing is, some background rate of mutations happens constantly in every species, even in uncontaminated areas – albeit at a much lower rate than in areas contaminated by nuclear accidents. So most genetic variants have been tried already. The great majority are either neutral or slightly deleterious. If a mutation had any benefit to offer, it would already be there in the population.

So the long-term effect of nuclear accidents on biodiversity is … none?

Yes, that’s right. Over evolutionary time, we expect that populations will return to normal after the mutagen disappears. Radionucleotides decay, hot sites eventually cool down, mutations become less frequent again, and healthy animal and plant populations recolonize the sites. So the genetic status quo ante returns – except if mutations have occurred that permanently enhance fitness, but that’s very rare.

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Mousseau (left) and colleague Anders Moller recording measurements in the field at Chernobyl

Some mutations might persist for a while if they’re adaptive during the hot phase. For example, there’s selection for animals whose cells produce a higher antioxidant load, which makes them more resistant to the effects of ionizing radiation. But that protection comes at a metabolic cost. After radiation levels die down, those variants will be selected back out of the population.

Where things get complicated is when the harmful mutations are recessive, that is, when it takes two copies [one for each chromosome] for the expression of the mutation. Many mutations fall into this category. They can accumulate in populations because they’re not expressed until two copies come into the same individual [one from the mother, the other from the father].

Because of this, populations can be affected by such mutations for many generations even after the mutagen is removed, and also, via dispersal, in populations that were never affected by the mutagen.

How can radioactive contamination interact with other problems that affect ecosystems, like habitat loss or climate change?

Certainly climate change is an additional stressor that is likely to interact with radiation to affect populations. We have demonstrated that while swallows in most places have moved their breeding dates forward in response to warming, in the Chernobyl area they are actually delayed. We hypothesize that this is due to the stress from the radioactive contaminants.

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The Red Forest near Chernobyl in Ukraine presents a high risk of fire, as a lack of bacteria prevents the trees from decaying

The biggest fear at present is related to the observation of hotter and drier summers in Ukraine, and the resulting increase in number and size of forest fires. Last summer there were three large fires, and one of them burned through some very contaminated areas.

We have predicted that such events could pose a significant threat to both human populations and the environment via re-suspension and deposition of radionuclides in the leaf litter and plant biomass.

In addition to the threat of catastrophic wildfire spreading nuclear contamination, birds and mammals also move around. Do they absorb radioactive elements in their food and water in contaminated sites, carry them elsewhere, thus dispersing the contamination more widely?

Do animals move radionuclides? Yes! I did a study years ago that showed very significant amounts of radionuclides are exported every year by birds. But it seems unlikely that the amount is enough to cause measurable health effects – unless you’re eating the birds. It is known that some people living outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are getting very significant doses from hunting the contaminated wild boar that leave the zone.

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Mouse with cataract collected near Chernobyl – the more radioactive the site, the higher the frequency of defects

This year marks five years since the Fukushima accident, and 30 years since Chernobyl. How long will the contaminated zones around Chernobyl and Fukushima be mutagenic and dangerous?

Chernobyl was a nuclear fire and ongoing fission event for 10 days, with strontium, uranium and plutonium isotopes strewn into the landscape. They have long half-lives, so many areas will remain hazardous for centuries, even thousands of years.

Fukushima was largely a cesium event, and cesium radionucleotides have a relatively short half-life. The area will mostly naturally decontaminate itself within decades, at most within a couple hundred years.

Timothy Mousseau is a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of radionucleotide contamination from nuclear accidents on wild bird, insect, rodent, and plant populations.

Interview: Nils Zimmermann

http://www.dw.com/en/nuclear-accidents-make-mutant-bugs-and-birds/a-19098683?maca=en-Facebook-sharing

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Scars: The Lasting Legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima

It is 30 years since the beginning of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is also five years since the Fukushima disaster began. To mark these anniversaries, Greenpeace has commissioned substantial reviews of scientific studies examining the continued radioactive contamination in the affected areas, and the health and social effects on the impacted populations. We have also carried out radiation field work to expose the unrelenting crises in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Japan that thousands of people still live with on a daily basis.

There is no simple or easy way to clean up an aftermath of a nuclear accident. Indeed, this report shows that there is no such thing in reality as a complete decontamination of radioactively contaminated areas. The disasters that began at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in 1986 and at Fukushima NPP in 2011 have demonstrated not only the terrible initial consequences of major nuclear accidents; they also left us with long-term consequences for human health and the environment. These scars are still with us today and will be with us long after tomorrow.

The nuclear industry likes to frame these accidents in terms of downplayed numbers of deaths, but the reality is far more complex and insidious. The impacts go far beyond the tens of thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands suffering health consequences. Following a nuclear disaster, people are put under overwhelming pressures. They must evacuate their communities to avoid radiation risks. They are displaced from their friends, families and communities for years.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the nuclear industry and its government supporters continue to hide the threats of nuclear power from the public. The real risk of nuclear power, however, is inescapable for hundreds of thousands of Chernobyl and Fukushima survivors. Despite the immense suffering that accompanies losing your home or living in a contaminated environment, the scale and seriousness of these effects continue to be played down or misrepresented.

This report seeks to clarify how governments, reactor operators and nuclear regulators were unprepared to deal with not only emergency evacuations immediately after the accidents, but with the long-term management of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, as well as with the contaminated communities and agricultural lands.

Nuclear scars: The Lasting Legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Are Organisms Adapting to Ionizing Radiation at Chernobyl?

Numerous organisms have shown an ability to survive and reproduce under low-dose ionizing radiation arising from natural background radiation or from nuclear accidents. In a literature review, we found a total of 17 supposed cases of adaptation, mostly based on common garden experiments with organisms only deriving from typically two or three sampling locations. We only found one experimental study showing evidence of improved resistance to radiation. Finally, we examined studies for the presence of hormesis (i.e., superior fitness at low levels of radiation compared with controls and high levels of radiation), but found no evidence to support its existence. We conclude that rigorous experiments based on extensive sampling from multiple sites are required.

Source: http://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/abstract/S0169-5347%2816%2900019-7?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0169534716000197%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation Impact Studies: Chernobyl and Fukushima

highly-recommended“Chernobyl and Fukushima Studies Show that Radiation Reduces Animal and Plant Numbers, Fertility, Brain Size and Diversity… and Increases Deformities and Abnormalities”

Some nuclear advocates suggest that wildlife thrives in the highly-radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, animals like it, and not only that, a little radiation for anybody and everybody is harmless and maybe good, not bad. This may seem like a senseless argument to tackle were it not for the persistence of positive-plus commentary by nuke lovers. The public domain deserves better, more studied, more crucial answers.

Fortunately, as well as unfortunately, the world has two major real life archetypes of radiation’s impact on the ecosystem: Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Chernobyl is a sealed-off 30klm restricted zone for the past 30 years because of high radiation levels, whereas PM Abe’s government in Japan has already started returning people to formerly restricted zones surrounding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear melt-down.

The short answer to the supposition that a “little dab of radiation is A-Okay” may be suggested in the title of a Washington Blog d/d March 12, 2014 in an interview of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, the world-renowned expert on radiation effects on living organisms. The hard answer is included further on in this article.

Dr. Mousseau is former Program Director at the National Science Foundation in Population Biology, Panelist for the National Academy of Sciences’ Panels on Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities and GAO Panel on Health and Environmental Effects from Tritium Leaks at Nuclear Power Plants, and a biology professor – and former Dean of the Graduate School, and Chair of the Graduate Program in Ecology – at the University of South Carolina.

The title of the Washington Blog interview is:

“Chernobyl and Fukushima Studies Show that Radiation Reduces Animal and Plant Numbers, Fertility, Brain Size and Diversity… and Increases Deformities and Abnormalities”

Dr. Mousseau made many trips to Chernobyl and Fukushima, making 896 inventories at Chernobyl and 1,100 biotic inventories in Fukushima. His mission was to test the effects of radiation on plants and animals. The title of his interview (above) handily serves to answer the question of whether radiation is positive for animals and plants. Without itemizing reams and reams of study data, the short answer is: Absolutely not! It is not positive for animals and plants, period.

Moreover, low doses of radiation, aka “radiation hormesis”, is not good for humans, as advocated by certain energy-related outlets. Data supporting their theory is extremely shaky and more to the point, flaky.

Furthermore, according to the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews, including reported results by wide-ranging analyses of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over 40 years, low-level natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA and several measures of good health.

Dr. Mousseau, with co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud, examined more that 5,000 papers involving background radiation in order to narrow their findings to 46 peer-reviewed studies. These studies examined plants and animals with a large preponderance of human subjects.

The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.

There is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation.

With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level…. But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine. And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants….

Results of Major Landmark Study on Low Dose Radiation (July 2015)

A consortium of researchers coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, examined causes of death in a study of more than 300,000 nuclear-industry workers in France, the United States and the United Kingdom, all of whom wore dosimeter badges.1

The workers received on average just 1.1 millisieverts (mSv) per year above background radiation, which itself is about 2–3 mSv per year from sources such as cosmic rays and radon. The study confirmed that the risk of leukemia does rise proportionately with higher doses, but also showed that this linear relationship is present at extremely low levels of radiation.

The study effectively “scuppers the popular idea that there might be a threshold dose below which radiation is harmless.”

Even so, the significant issue regarding radiation exposure for humans is that it is a “silent destroyer” that takes years and only manifests once damage has occurred; for example, 200 American sailors of the USS Reagan have filed a lawsuit against TEPCO et al because of radiation-related illnesses, like leukemia, only four years after radiation exposure from Fukushima.

Japan Moving People Back to Fukushima Restricted Zones

Japan’s Abe government has started moving people back into former restricted zones surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station even though it is an on-going major nuclear meltdown that is totally out of control.

Accordingly, Greenpeace Japan conducted a radiation survey and sampling program in Iitate, a village in Fukushima Prefecture. Even after decontamination, radiation dose rates measured ten times (10xs) the maximum allowed to the general public.

According to Greenpeace Japan:

The Japanese government plans to lift restrictions in all of Area 2 [2], including Iitate, where people could receive radiation doses of up to 20mSV each year and in subsequent years. International radiation protection standards recommend public exposure should be 1mSv/year or less in non-post accident situations. The radiation limit that excluded people from living in the 30km zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant exclusion zone was set at 5mSV/year, five years after the nuclear accident. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from within the zone and will never return.2

  1. “Researchers Pin Down Risks of Low-Dose Radiation”, Nature, July 8, 2015.
  2. Greenpeace Press Release, July 21, 2015

Source: The Dissident

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/radiation-impact-studies-chernobyl-and-fukushima/

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Belarus, Japan, Reference, Ukraine | , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s wildfires threaten radioactive areas from Chernobyl

“Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said heat from fires in the Bryansk region, which already has nuclear contamination from the Chernobyl disaster more than 20 years ago, could release harmful radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

Nuclear Concerns as Russian Wildfires Spread Near Chernobyl, The Atlantic Wire, By Max Fisher,  August 06, 2010 The hundreds of wildfires still spreading through Russia are beginning to approach areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Continue reading

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Russia, safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment