Radiation’s not that much of a problem then

Man is even more deadly to wildlife than a nuclear disaster, according to new research which has found animal populations in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have unexpectedly soared 30 years after the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Land surrounding Chernobyl – which was evacuated after the 1986 catastrophic nuclear accident – is now teeming with elk, deer and wolves.

And nature is a great deal more resilient than anyone thought.

19 thoughts on “Radiation’s not that much of a problem then”

  1. Learned a lesson on this. Few years back partner and I purchased large house with 2 acre garden. All looked very mature as if it’d been there since house was built ~1900.

    In fact almost none of it was more than 30 years old. We got an aerial photo that showed most was ploughed field, the rest bare until 70’s. Visitors didn’t believe it ’til we showed them photo.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    Ditto Lulworth ranges here in Dorset.

    And wasn’t there a wonderful experiment after the famous hurricane? IIRC the area that man tried to repair didn’t respond but areas that were left alone recovered very well and quite quickly.

  3. That swivel eyed loon Moonbat is devoting the rest of his life to rewilding, perhaps his best tactic would be to go around blowing up nuclear power stations.

  4. What gets me about all the reporting on this story is the “even” in “even more deadly to wildlife than a nuclear disaster”. Because of course the worst nuclear disaster in history has not turned out to be particularly dangerous. The death toll from Chernobyl is forty-something — that’s not just from the explosion, but including all subsequent deaths caused by the aftermath. The thousands of birth defects caused by the fallout are fictitious. Sure, this stuff is not as well known as Greenpeace’s propaganda, but is it really too much to ask that a journalist or two go and find it out while they’re writing a piece about how dangerous Chernobyl is?

    Also, all this reporting on the animals living in the area, yet I’ve seen no mention of the humans who got fed up with the evacuation and just went back because they missed their homes, started living there again, and were fine.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Squander Two – “The death toll from Chernobyl is forty-something — that’s not just from the explosion, but including all subsequent deaths caused by the aftermath.”

    They should know better because it appears that more people got cancer from being scared by Three Mile island than got cancer from Three Mile Island’s radiation leak.

    As for Fukushima:

    This spring, four years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, a small group of scientists met in Tokyo to evaluate the deadly aftermath.

    No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation – a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.

    But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation – one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

    Media jokes like this are killing people. They should be publicly shamed.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    That was the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Those areas ‘cleaned up’ are still not fully recovered. Those where they just left it alone are.

  7. Also, all this reporting on the animals living in the area, yet I’ve seen no mention of the humans who got fed up with the evacuation and just went back because they missed their homes, started living there again, and were fine.

    From what I’ve seen, the entire population was housed in apartment blocks, i.e. there were few, if any, of the individual houses you find in the former Soviet Union. And if there were, they’d likely be collapsed by now. The apartment blocks have been largely ransacked, and won’t have any electricity or water in and so going back won’t really be feasible anyway. And the town of Pripyat, which is the area they’re talking about, was founded specifically to serve the nuclear plant at Chernobyl anyway, so the families probably hadn’t put proper roots down there anyway.

    My first thought about all this is that you really don’t need to have a nuclear disaster to see wildlife undisturbed by humans in the former USSR: look at the map of Russia between the Urals and the Sea of Okhotsk, and you’ll find areas the size of France with next to no human activity in.

    My second thought is although we should acknowledge that few people actually died as a direct result of Chernobyl, the several million citizens of Kiev are probably very lucky the wind was blowing in their direction.

  8. Tim Newman

    It wasn’t just the worker’s dormitory towns. There was a fascinating programme – some time ago and I can’t remember the name – about all the people who had either never moved out or had promptly returned. Mostly elderly villagers of the Eternal Russia type, living the life they always had. Picking and pickling mushrooms – supposedly one of the strongest concentrators of radiation toxins – and showing absolutely no ill effects from living in an area that set Geiger counters off like chainsaws..

  9. Yes, but I’d add a great caution here. The key word there is “elderly”. Post-reproductive. I have a suspicion and no proof whatsoever that the effects on a reproductive population would have been rather different.

  10. “is it really too much to ask that a journalist or two go and find it out while they’re writing a piece about how dangerous Chernobyl is?”

    Literally unthinkable. It wouldn’t even cross their minds to think about doing so, and then consciously reject it.

  11. “I have a suspicion and no proof whatsoever that the effects on a reproductive population would have been rather different.” The obvious guide is the amount of genetic damage to the children conceived by the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nil.

    (I don’t know whether that includes damage done to babes in the womb.)

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    There were 31 direct fatalities, and “up to” 9000 secondary radiation-induced deaths in the wider population (if you believe the more pessimistic analyses). In the thirty years since the accident, at least a third of the population of Europe and the Near East has died. That’s hundreds of millions of people. I’m not even sure how you disentangle a slight excess of cancer mortality from that, let alone ascribe it to a single cause.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in france – “Hormesis, anyone?”

    Indeed:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

    The conventional approach for radiation protection is based on the ICRP’s linear, no threshold (LNT) model of radiation carcinogenesis, which implies that ionizing radiation is always harmful, no matter how small the dose. But a different approach can be derived from the observed health effects of the serendipitous contamination of 1700 apartments in Taiwan with cobalt-60 (T1/2 = 5.3 y). This experience indicates that chronic exposure of the whole body to low-dose-rate radiation, even accumulated to a high annual dose, may be beneficial to human health. Approximately 10,000 people occupied these buildings and received an average radiation dose of 0.4 Sv, unknowingly, during a 9–20 year period. They did not suffer a higher incidence of cancer mortality, as the LNT theory would predict. On the contrary, the incidence of cancer deaths in this population was greatly reduced—to about 3 per cent of the incidence of spontaneous cancer death in the general Taiwan public. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations was also reduced—to about 7 per cent of the incidence in the general public. These observations appear to be compatible with the radiation hormesis model. Information about this Taiwan experience should be communicated to the public worldwide to help allay its fear of radiation and create a positive impression about important radiation applications.

    As Someone Else says, the modern media is just about the media deciding what Democratic Party talking points they want to let you know about this week.

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