Chernobyl; Animal Studies Show Radiation Is Still Harming Our Wild Companions

It seems that many countries, including the Russians, are not interested in knowing radiation levels in animals. They also do not seem to be interested in knowing what effects low level radiation has on animals, insects and birds in areas such as the   ‘exclusion zones’ around Chernobyl. It seems that the only studies being done around Chernobyl have been performed by ‘foreign’ researchers coming in from other countries. This is curious in and of itself. 
Why does the media seem to be promoting the Chernobyl exclusion zone as a ‘Nature Reserve’,  full of a rebounding population of apparently ‘happy and healthy’ animals? Why are they not disclosing that these animals all have high levels of toxic radiation inside of them? 

Why are there no studies around these larger animals? Why are there no radiation measuring studies exploring what types of radiation are in these LARGE animals? What effect is the radiation having on their health?
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The movie above shows lots of healthy and happy animals, thus giving the impression that radiation is healthy both for animals and humans. However; “a three-year consensus on wildlife found a reduction in biodiversity and significant effects of contamination, including migratory birds with tumors on their feet, necks and around their eyes.”

According to Discovery News, “the Chernobyl disaster, a nuclear reactor explosion and subsequent fire on April 26, 1986, which spewed highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere, continues to harm animal populations in the Ukraine, according to a new study. The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, presents the most extensive data set ever compiled on the abundance of animals at and around the Chernobyl site. “Abundance” is relative in this case, however, since scientists Anders Moller and Timothy Mousseau determined that insect, bird and other animal populations have dramatically diminished there in the two decades following the disaster.”

“”We were amazed to see that there had been no studies on this subject,” Anders Moller, a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research in France, who led the study, said in telephone interview….Radiation has affected animals living near the site of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster far more than was previously thought, a study showed Wednesday, challenging beliefs that local wildlife was on the rebound….”We wanted to ask the question: Are there more or fewer animals in the contaminated areas? Clearly there were fewer,” said Moller, who has worked on Chernobyl since 1991.” 

The Chernobyl accident happened in 1986, but the researchers studying the area around Chernobyl found that the numbers of insects, such as bumble bees, spiders grasshoppers and other animals were lower in the radiation soaked areas, when compared to other areas without such radiation contamination. 

Some highly radioactive ‘hot spot’ areas were completely depleted of animal life, while other areas that were not so severely affected. Comparing the two types of areas and the number of living specimens showed results of less than 1 speciman per square yard in ‘hot’ areas, compared to 100 per square yard in less radioactive areas. 
This same dynamic applies to all species of animals. They also noticed that animals had a high percentage of stunted limbs and discoloration compared to non radiated animal populations.
On the one hand, large animals seem to be moving back into the area because humans are totally excluded from it, but NO studies seem to have been done on these larger animals, to see what their true state of health is. No one seems to be measuring the radiation in the larger fish and mammals in the region.. Either that, or they ARE measuring the radiation and do not report it, for fear of causing a panic. 
The fallout from Chernobyl covered many thousands of square miles and contaminated areas as far away as Germany, the UK, Russia, Scotland, Ukraine, Belarus and more. Few or no animal or human low level radiation effect studies seem to have been done around insects, birds, animals or fish in those countries either. 
However, in a few countries such as the UK and Germany, laws were implemented limiting the sale or consumption of animals that contained high levels of Cesium. The UK just dropped all of their efforts to prevent contaminated meat from reaching the market after doing a short survey to see if there was interest in continuing the program. At last count, some percentage of sheep were registering radioactive Cesium in the neighborhood of 1,000 Bq per kilogram of meat.
Germany is approximately 1,000 miles from Chernobyl, but they are still finding that 20% to 80% of the animals measured are contaminated with radioactive Cesium 137, making them unfit to eat due to high radiation levels.   

Germany is still actively measuring radiation in such animals as wild pigs or deer brought in by hunters and compensating hunters for the loss of radiation contaminated animals.  

There also does not seem to be any international agreement or standard about what is considered a ‘safe’ amount of radiation in wild game, or retail food and drinking water. In Germany, unsafe radiation is considered to be any Cesium found at 600 Bq per kilogram or more.
In the UK the level of unsafe radiation is almost double that amount; at 1,000 Bq per kilogram Cesium 137. Until February of 2012, they authorities were testing all  sheep and other animals consumed for their meat or exported out of ‘control areas’ found to have elevated Cesium levels due to Chernobyl. 

However, that testing and contaminated meat exclusion program has recently been dropped completely, so people in the UK can now eat radioactively contaminated sheep or other meat, with no radiation measurement or warning labels at all. This lack of testing also means that this contaminated meat can be exported abroad. 

The average level of Cesium radiation found in meat before Chernobyl was less than .5 Bq per kilogram of meat or fish. A total amount of Cesium consumed by an average adultwould total around 100 Bq PER YEAR from all plant, milk and animal sources. All of this radiation originates from the nuclear bomb testing era. 
Radioactive Cesium does not exist ‘naturally’ and is totally a man made radioactive substance. It seems that as levels of toxic radiation rise in food, wild game and water that authorities just raise the ‘safe’ limits and allow the food and drink to be sold. This happened both in Japan and in many other countries. 

The problems with testing and measuring for radiation in food and drink are huge. But it would seem to be common sense that selling radioactive food or drink should be something that is either banned or regulated internationally. 
There should be agreed upon international standards. The current hodge podge of conflicting, loose and missing regulations is not good for our generation’s health or for the future health of seven generations to come. 
Since it is impossible to decontaminate radioactive food, and very difficult or expensive to decontaminate drinks/water, it would seem that much more attention and study around this subject would be prudent and wise, in all countries.
After all, how hard is it to set up and measure the radiation in things like deer antlers, or animal droppings, or the total body radiation burden of children and adults?

“An interesting example of the chemical behavior of fission products is provided by a pair of deer antlers on the premises of the former Ivankov Fish Combine, about one mile from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

First, we place a sodium iodide (NaI:Tl) scintillation detector near the antlers. It registers no discernable activity above local background (although it should be noted that background near ChNPP is somewhat elevated). The NaI:Tl detector is predominately sensitive to gamma rays.

Next, we swap out the scintillator for a Geiger-Muller tube having a window that admits beta particles. The Geiger tube is an American-made CDV-700 probe. It is very sensitive to beta particles and much less sensitive to gamma rays. The antlers register many times local background on the Geiger tube, although they appeared unremarkable on the scintillator.

I submit that the explanation for this effect is the preferential concentration of strontium-90 (Sr-90), a pure beta emitter, in the bone of the antlers. 

Strontium’s chemical behavior resembles that of the calcium that largely comprises hard bone, and so it is absorbed and retained strongly in bone (i.e. it is a “bone seeker”).” Source: from video description

Chernobyl; Animal Studies Show Radiation Is Still Harming Our Wild Companions; via A Green Road Blog


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