Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Plants Near Chernobyl Adapt To Contaminated Soil 293

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-what-plants-crave dept.
lbalbalba writes "In April 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine exploded and sent radioactive particles flying through the air, infiltrating the surrounding soil. Despite the colossal disaster, some plants in the area seem to have adapted well, flourishing in the contaminated soil."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Plants Near Chernobyl Adapt To Contaminated Soil

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:32PM (#33670814)

    Wow, I can't tell if you are new here or just retarded. There have been a ton of racists on slashdot long before the black president.

    There's plenty of reasons for someone to not like Obama that have nothing to do with the color of his skin, but anyone who speaks out against him is automatically labeled as a racist just to shut them down.

  • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:43PM (#33670890) Homepage

    Probably the point is not so much to shield radiation, but to reduce / prevent direct contact, or (worse) ingestion of radioactive material. Depending on conditions & duration of the job, masks, goggles & gloves may just be adequate.

  • Mother nature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by p51d007 (656414) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:50PM (#33670948)
    Amazing how mother nature always seems to adapt to whatever man throws at it. And people still continue to say we can blow up the world. Earth took hits from asteroids, wiped out the critters, adapted, evolved and moved on. Same thing with any pollution.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:01PM (#33671056)

    Yeah, and also I remember the number of articles on slashdot about how wildlife was thriving there, which were then totally debunked.

    Then, when real research was carried out, wild animals turned out to have shorter lifespans, all kinds of genetic diseases, have smaller litter, more defective offspring and generally be much less healthy than elsewhere.

    If I had to bet, I'd bet this new "research" has about as much validity as the brouhaha about the Przhevalsky horses in 2002.

    But hey, the sexy chick on the motorcycle was cool.

  • Re:Mother nature (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:13PM (#33671146)
    Key point : Pollution affects Humans too. If you are interested in there being human beings around in the future you need to either, A) Get us off planet to other colonies or B) preserve the "colony" we have. There may be some other creature that evolves with our capacity for abstraction and application of abstraction (i.e. engineering) on Earth. However if you believe that intelligence like ours is rare in the Universe and also believe it is worthwhile, then we need to handle Earth a little better or start funding Nasa with our cigarette and booze money. Budget Comparison to Consumer Expenditures [richardb.us] and SpaceReview [thespacereview.com].
  • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:36PM (#33671262)

    Coupl'a things -

    1) Chernobyl is not over, and not contained. The "sarcophagus" was temporary at best, is crumbling now, and it's permanent replacement has been beset by budgetary, engineering and political issues that seem irresolvable.

    2) Apart from 6' trout and 10' catfish, wildlife around Chernobyl and Pripyat is absolutely not doing well. Excepting a few migratory songbirds, the place is eerily silent.

    3) But it's OK, because a few plant species turn out to be radiation-tolerant?

    No, not OK. I'm not against nuclear power wholesale, but maybe we should be taking a long, hard look at pebble-bed, 4S and thorium reactors?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:38PM (#33671272)

    "And Humans will adapt by dying out."

    The many survivors of atomic testing and nuclear attack suggest otherwise.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:56PM (#33671362)

    Ah, the typical reaction to to the word "radioactivity."

    Most areas around Chernobyl are pretty harmlessly radioactive unless you a) spend a long time there or b) get some of the radioactive stuff on or in you and it sticks with you for an extended period of time.

    Cyanide is pretty deadly stuff too, but only if you ingest it.

  • Re:Mother nature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BradleyUffner (103496) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:53PM (#33671980) Homepage

    Amazing how mother nature always seems to adapt to whatever man throws at it.
    And people still continue to say we can blow up the world. Earth took hits from
    asteroids, wiped out the critters, adapted, evolved and moved on. Same thing with
    any pollution.

    More like Nature adapting to Nature.
    Why are humans always separated out from natural things? Humans are animals just like ants and bees. Bees create honey, something that would not exist without bees creating it, and it's considered natural. Yet humans create things like "High Fructose Corn Syrup" and it's not considered natural.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @12:25AM (#33672168)

    What do you think would happen to you if you stayed outside in direct sunlight day after day, for your entire lifetime? Plants are heartier than humans, probably because they tend to be far simpler. I'm sure a bio guy could tell you more accurate and precise reasons, but you seem to not want that...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @12:58AM (#33672306)

    ok let's cut your legs, it will make you stronger

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @01:35AM (#33672402)

    Well, being able to survive isn't exactly the definition of thriving, and a minefield is much less risky to smaller animals than it is to humans; comparing it to irradiated zone doesn't even make sense.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:15AM (#33672716) Journal

    Why wouldn't have he done that? I don't think intelligent design or creation is claiming that evolution doesn't exist at all, in fact, it would be logical that it's needed to ensure the survival of the lifeform. They are just claiming creation instead of speciation and nothing in this article suggests that the soybeans are now potatoes or something.

    Or am I missing something?

  • Re:Mother nature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dido (9125) <dido@impe r i u m .ph> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:31AM (#33672770)

    It was never a question of nature or the earth managing in spite of what we do. Nothing we can do, except possibly detonating every nuclear weapon in the world's arsenal (and maybe not even then) will be sufficient to completely wipe out all life on the planet. The real question is whether or not whatever we do or fail to do will make the planet uninhabitable for us humans. Nature may be resilient, but the human species, having existed for only 100,000 or so years in its present form, a mere blink of an eye in geological terms, isn't even close.

  • by tg123 (1409503) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:09AM (#33672920)

    Ah, the typical reaction to to the word "radioactivity."

    For good reason too - we can not hear ,smell or taste radiation and its effects will last a life time.

    any exposure to radiation causes harm it is just a case of how well are bodies able to tolerate it.

    http://science.jrank.org/pages/5635/Radiation-Radiation-health.html [jrank.org]

    Most areas around Chernobyl are pretty harmlessly radioactive unless you a) spend a long time there or b) get some of the radioactive stuff on or in you and it sticks with you for an extended period of time...................

    I will have to take your word for it. Never having been to the areas that surround the Chernobyl power plant, I would however think there must be a reason why the cities of Chernobyl and Prypiat were abandoned.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prypiat,_Ukraine [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:02AM (#33673102)

    Nietzsche talks about an individual. Darwin talks about a population.

    Duh.

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:13AM (#33673140) Homepage

    You are positively glowing!

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:29AM (#33673198) Homepage

    My understanding was that the point of this article was that this was not evolution, or at most an evolutionary switch-on of a feature that evolved long ago.

    When plants reach for the light, it's not because they are evolving into a new organism on the spot. Rather, they have long ago evolved to dynamically adapt to lighting conditions. What TFA is proposing is that plants dynamically adapt to ionizing radiation as well, and they have had that capability for some time, it's just that we haven't been in a position to observe it.

    As to the rest of your comment: If you think "environmentalists are always predicting some kind of terrible apocalypse withing the next couple of decades" and cite "global cooling" as an example - maybe you're not an AGW denialist, but you have apparently picked up some of their rhetoric style.

  • What (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits (437) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:12AM (#33673390) Homepage

    Plants are very primitive compared to animals, and localized mutations of their cells have nearly no effect on them, so why would they be significantly affected by radioactive contamination in the first place? The whole problem with radioactive contamination and plants is that they can accumulate radioactive isotopes over their lifetime and become dangerous for humans and animals to consume.

  • Re:Mother nature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by master_p (608214) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:56AM (#33673578)

    The problem is not life in general after we blow up the world. The problem is human life after we blow up the world. Life in general will go on on this planet for ever, until the planet is consumed by the Sun. The problem is us.

  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:19PM (#33678314)

    As the earlier commenter pointed out, the plants might be poisonous as crops if they aggregate the radioactive materials, so maybe the health of the plants is nothing to be overjoyed about. However, one of the points is that the forests around Chernobyl never died off. There wasn't a period when the area around the reactor completely died. The plants didn't "adapt" to the radiation; they were already adapted to tolerate quite a bit of it.

  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:17PM (#33688480) Journal

    Most gamma radiation passes through your body without ever interacting.

    These scientists were worried about radioactive contamination, not acute radiation exposure. The defense against contamination is to keep the emitters from getting inside your body.

Brain off-line, please wait.

Working...