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Radiation’s Enduring Afterglow

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  • Radiation’s Enduring Afterglow

    Radiation’s Enduring Afterglow


    Published: March 26, 2011

    Becquerels, sieverts, curies, roentgens, rads and rems. For all the esoteric nomenclature scientists have devised to parse the effects of nuclear emanations, the unit they so often fall back on is the old-fashioned chest X-ray.
    . . .

    With radiation, the terror lies in the abstraction. It kills incrementally — slowly, diffusely, invisibly. “Afterheat,” Robert Socolow, a Princeton University professor, called it in an essay for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “the fire that you can’t put out.”
    . . .

    In the meantime, Chernobyl has become a tourist destination. Visitors . . . might also see a resurgence of wildlife: moose, roe deer, Russian wild boar, foxes, river otter and rabbits. American ecologists who conducted a study of the area in the late 1990s concluded that for all the harm caused by fallout, the biggest impact from humans has been positive: their decision to pack up and leave. “Northern Ukraine is the cleanest part of the nation,” an official of Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences said at the time. “It has only radiation.”

    . . .
    full article at:

  • #2
    Re: Radiation’s Enduring Afterglow

    "It is not helpful to hinge the future of the nuclear industry and an important element of the energy supply to a claim that low levels of radiation cause 'negligible' damage or are even helpful."
    More on Deaths due to Chernobyl 1999
    Richard Garwin

    Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations;
    IBM Emeritus Fellow; Adjunct Prof. of Physics, Columbia University

    Research indicates something other than what that NYT article above states:
    Chernobyl Birds' Defects Link Radiation, Not Stress, to Human Ailments
    Kate Ravilious
    for National Geographic News
    April 18, 2007

    Twenty years after the infamous catastrophe at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, scientists were cheered by the explosion of wildlife that seemed to be thriving in the 19-mile (30-kilometer) "exclusion zone" around the disaster site.

    Healthy-looking deer, boar, lynx, and eagle owls were among the animals found throughout the zone, despite the blast that had showered radioactive material over huge swaths of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia (see a map of Europe).

    But a new study shows that barn swallows living near Chernobyl, which is in Ukraine, suffer from many more birth defects and abnormalities than would ordinarily be expected.

    In addition, the swallows are not living as long and are not breeding as successfully as their distant counterparts.

    By studying birds rather than humans, the researchers have been able to separate the physiological effects of the radiation from sociological and psychological ones.

    "Birds don't drink, birds don't smoke, and they don't suffer the same kind of stresses as humans" that can cause diseases such as cancers, said study co-author Tim Mousseau, a biology professor at the University of South Carolina and a National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration grantee.

    (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

    The findings therefore suggest that people living near the affected zone could still be at risk even though radiation levels have declined.....
    Chernobyl Birds Have Smaller Brains
    Anders Pape Møller1*, Andea Bonisoli-Alquati2, Geir Rudolfsen3, Timothy A. Mousseau2

    1 Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France, 2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, United States of America, 3 Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), Department of Environmental Radioactivity, The Polar Environmental Center, Tromsø, Norway


    Animals living in areas contaminated by radioactive material from Chernobyl suffer from increased oxidative stress and low levels of antioxidants. Therefore, normal development of the nervous system is jeopardized as reflected by high frequencies of developmental errors, reduced brain size and impaired cognitive abilities in humans. Alternatively, associations between psychological effects and radiation have been attributed to post-traumatic stress in humans....


    Low dose radiation can have significant effects on normal brain development as reflected by brain size and therefore potentially cognitive ability. The fact that brain size was smaller in yearlings than in older individuals implies that there was significant directional selection on brain size with individuals with larger brains experiencing a viability advantage.
    “‘i love myself.’
    ever.” ---- nayyirah waheed

    Avatar: Franz Marc, Liegender Hund im Schnee 1911 (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)