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The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, 31 years ago, dispersed large amounts of radionuclides into the surrounding environment and far beyond. The research of Dr. Timothy Mousseau and his team, whose presentation you can watch here, found that animals and microbes living in these contaminated areas are failing to thrive. Organic matter in forests around Chernobyl are taking years or even decades longer than normal to decay. There are reduced population sizes and genetic abnormalities among birds, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, and mammals in highly radioactive parts of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Birds are showing an increase in sterility, albinism and cataracts, with abnormal sperm in barn swallows up to 10 times higher for Chernobyl birds as compared to sperm from males living in control areas. These findings help dismiss the notion that similar abnormalities and birth defects reported in human populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout were due to "poverty and stress," factors that clearly cannot affect wildlife. The work also supports evidence found in human populations that impacts still occur in generations born long after the disaster. April 26, 2017

Seeds exposed to Chernobyl radiation weigh less, grow poorly Seeds from Chernobyl sites with higher radiation levels weighed significantly less. Likewise, germination rates were negatively impacted. Furthermore, the study indicated there was no threshold for radioactivity's impact - and the higher the dose, the greater the effect.  International Journal of Plant Sciences, July 17, 2017

Ionizing Radiation from Chernobyl and the Fraction of Viable Pollen Viability of pollen is reduced in contaminated areas of Chernobyl. International Journal of Plant Sciences, October 5, 2016

 


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