Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Japan Power Science

Fukushima's Biological Legacy 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-be-mothra-please-be-mothra dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Eurekalert: Scientists began gathering biological information only a few months after the disastrous 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds. A series of articles summarizing these studies has been published in the Journal of Heredity describing impacts ranging from population declines to genetic damage (abstract 1, abstract 2, abstract 3, abstract 4). Most importantly, these studies supply a baseline for future research on the effects of ionizing radiation exposure to the environment. Common to all of the published studies is the hypothesis that chronic (low-dose) exposure to ionizing radiation results in genetic damage and increased mutation rates in reproductive and non-reproductive cells. Meanwhile, efforts to restart Japan's nuclear power program are dead in the water.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fukushima's Biological Legacy

Comments Filter:
  • beautiful blood sucking butterflies.

  • Mothra? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:50PM (#47685047)

    How soon can we expect Mothra to attack?

  • Take the pale grass blue butterfly, a species long known to be highly susceptible to environmental impacts, feed it the highest found doses of contaminated leaves in a small area near Fukushima, observe a slight mutation increase, announce a finding. OK, some of the study reports are interesting, too bad the press interprets and takes it to an extreme.
    • Impact of humans (Score:4, Interesting)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:03PM (#47685097)

      If for somereason all the humans in NY city were to just up and leave there would be a huge biological impact. rats, cats, dogs, birds, trees, and butterflies would be disrupted by lack of food, changes in water, reduction of the temperature island, heated underground spaces, lack of trash. Predators formerly finding the human habitation uninviting would swarm into the area.

          Likewise formerly unfit mutants on some species, such as cockroaches in bright colors that were out in the daytime might appear

      I'm somewhat skeptical that every observed change in Fukashima is casued by radition, even the new appearance of mutations. the departure of the human population might well be a catalyst as well.

      • In this case, there is a reasonable case that radiation is a factor. However, you'll find mutations in butterflies all the time, and some percentage of those are due to natural radiation.

        Funny you won't see similar studies based on exposure to sunlight. You'll find it has an impact, but the press won't really care so much.
        • by MrKaos (858439)

          In this case, there is a reasonable case that radiation is a factor. However, you'll find mutations in butterflies all the time, and some percentage of those are due to natural radiation. Funny you won't see similar studies based on exposure to sunlight. You'll find it has an impact, but the press won't really care so much.

          That is because we are talking about radionuclide effect vs raditation effect, not a natural effect. It is clear that there is a mutagenic process at work here that is above normal rate of natural mutations. Coupled with mutagenic effects recorded in species of farm vegetables and flowers this is an indication that bio-accumulation of radionuclides is occurring and that there is an increasing rate of uptake because more and more mutations are being recorded. Additionally more radionuclides are being release

      • I don't think I will end up agreeing with parent post (that the removal of humans from an urban region would foster genetic diversity among the remaining species), but this idea is something to think about. If I had mod points at the moment I would give parent post a "+1 interesting". It does not deserve the "-1 troll" it currently carries. An odd concept but not a trollish one.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Luckyo (1726890)

          I don't think this is about "agreeing". He actually stated a fact. We know what happens when we irradiate a region to the point where most people leave. It happened in Chernobyl.

          Right now, Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl is one of the greatest nature conservation parks in the world. It was a very clear proof of the fact that humans are one of the greatest if not the single greatest threat to biodiversity, and a far greater threat than significantly elevated background radiation combined with some of the mor

          • by Cyberax (705495)
            Except that Fukushima is not even close to Chernobyl in the level of pollution.
          • by MrKaos (858439)

            I don't think this is about "agreeing". He actually stated a fact. We know what happens when we irradiate a region to the point where most people leave. It happened in Chernobyl.

            Right now, Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl is one of the greatest nature conservation parks in the world. It was a very clear proof of the fact that humans are one of the greatest if not the single greatest threat to biodiversity, and a far greater threat than significantly elevated background radiation combined with some of the more harmful isotopes that penetrate key organs and remain.

            Whoever modded OP -1 troll needs to take a long look at findings at Chernobyl.

            I've looked at the findings at Chernobyl and it is not clear proof of that at all.

            It is clear proof that exposure to radionuclides prevents basic biological functions of things like fungi and bacteria that may appear insignificant at the top of the food chain, but not at the bottom of it where life is very active.

            Trees are not rotting at Chernobyl, this is very bad. Apart from the accumulating fire danger that threatens to spread the fall-out elsewhere around Europe and the Northern Hemisphere it indicat

            • by Luckyo (1726890)

              That only concerns the most irradiated hot spots like red forest, and even there, all it has done was slow down the recycling so trees grow slower. They still grow however, and animals still graze.

      • The "mod down every nuclear post" Greenpeace action team strikes again. Time to bring back the DGSE.

      • Yes, a new species conflict would ensue if you took away the humans and left the rats, cats, dogs etc.. But I see you only want to take the humans out of the equation... Leaving the Lawyers (mutant species already in place) to fight the rats, cats, dogs etc.. That would be so cruel on the rats etc.. Perhaps Mothers-In-Law would equal the fight?
    • Yes, if there's a reactor meltdown in your neighborhood you should stay put and ignore the panic mongers. A little radiation never did anything.

  • Godzilla is now based on science!

  • by cirby (2599)

    ...as long as they studied plants and insects on the Fukushima site itself, including right next to the reactor.

    "Yeah, as long as we put the seeds right in this radioactive puddle, we got results."

    "What about further away? Like outside of the plant property?"

    "Are you nuts? I need funding for my next scary study here!"

  • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:58PM (#47685081) Homepage
    There was a major tsunami that washed the shoreline and beyond. I wonder how you actually separate population declines due to the radioactivity from the declines due to the tsunami.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mean pun (717227)
      By not studying the narrow strip of land that was affected by the tsunami.
      • By not studying the narrow strip of land that was affected by the tsunami.

        Bah, you're making the radical assumption that scientists have a clue about the things they study.

      • by sjames (1099)

        So you mean the nuclear plant and surrounding hot zone?

        • by mean pun (717227)
          To this day there is an area that extends several kilometers from the power plant that is considered too dangerous to stay in. Most of that area was not affected by the tsunami, only by the leaked radiation.
      • No, by realizing the tsunami was weeks before the meltdown (* facepalm *)

    • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:23PM (#47685187)
      I can guarantee that if they studied the impact of various chemical spills and other impacts left behind by the tsunami, they would find orders of magnitude more 'genetic impacts' than anything they'll find due to radiation. Problem is, nobody cares to do that study because there is no agenda driving it, and no funding, and no press would care.
      • What chemicals spilled, other than all the radioactive water?

        And since when have people not been interested in the effects of chemical spills, genetic or otherwise?

        • The tsunami caused all kinds of tank overflows, spilled over storage buildings with chemicals, etc. You just don't hear about that part of the environmental impact, so I'm not surprised you asked.
          • This is why I would like to see researchers in the Fukushima hot zone look for (and/or introduce) bioconcentrators for the specific elements that came from the meltdowns. And guess which highly-popular-in-Japan plant is a candidate? http://www.newscientist.com/ar... [newscientist.com]

          • Oh, care to point one out?
            You forget, that happened in a first world country, I wonder in which town, village or city you find easy to happen chemical hazards! ?

            • Gas tanks. Oil Tanks. Diesel tanks. Cleaning supplies. Light industrial supplies.

              Just to name a few of the blatantly obvious. Those chemicals are ubiquitous. Every flood of a modern habituated area is an 'environmental disaster", you just don't hear about it.
              • Yes, I heared about it.
                That is a desaster in your country, not in mine, and I seriously doubt it is in Japan.
                Nirmal countries have regulations and saveguards to prevent this. Perhaps you can inform yourself how to secure an oil tank against leakage in case of a flood. It is surprisingly simlle, a no brainer in fact.

                • Perhaps you can inform yourself how to secure an oil tank against leakage in case of a flood. It is surprisingly simlle, a no brainer in fact.

                  Of course. Perfectly simple. Perfectly simple to secure a 10,000 gallon tank of diesel oil in the face of a 20 foot high cascade of water and debris capable of knocking entire buildings off their foundations. And that after a magnitude 9 earthquake. Totally simple.

                  Surprised I am to find that wee bits of assorted chemicals [nih.gov] were dumped into the environment after the disaster. Most surprised.

                  No brainer, indeed.

                  • Yes it is completely simple.

                    First you don't place it a place where you have a mag 9 risk: check, they did that. The quake was 450 miles away.
                    Second you put it on an elevated position, so you are twice as high as the highest tsunami. Check: they did not do that, fail.
                    Third: you make the tank fail save in so far that it can not rupture easily if it swims up in a flood. Easy done, everyone does that, I assume even the Japanese. Well, americans rather take the risk and like to get sued ... so I have heard :D
                    Fou

                • by khallow (566160)

                  Nirmal countries have regulations and saveguards to prevent this.

                  Because regulations and safeguards prevent magnitude 9 earthquakes from happening. The point of regulations and safeguards is not to maintain the unicorn herd that will keep bad things from ever happening, but rather to attempt to reduce the occurrence of bad things and externalities to a level the society is willing to tolerate. Well, that and controlling peoples' behavior because your ideology mandates that the behavior is bad.

                  • The mag 9 quake was 450 miles away ... people seem to forget this.

                    Point is a oil tank can be made robust that it does it break easy. The connections to pipes can be self sealing. Fact is: in Germany oil tanks need to be guarded by law against intruding water, neither the whole tank may swim away nor may water get into the tank and press the oil out. Minimum thickness of the hull, if I'm not mistaken, is 7mm steel. The tanks have to be installed in a way that a collapsing building is unlikely to damage it ..

                    • by khallow (566160)
                      Speaking of exaggeration, we have your above post. A tank can be made robust enough that it can withstand a once in 20 million years direct large asteroid impact. But that capability would be a little more pricy than the human race would be willing to afford.

                      And German regulation would not be sufficient for a magnitude 9 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami despite your breezy assertions to the contrary.
                    • The german regulation is enough to keep a huge percentage of the tanks intact.

                      They can not get out of the cellars, the cellars usually don't collapse. The only thing they can is swimming up and breaking their connecting pipes. For that safety vents are included.

                      My a unlucky tank break? Yes ... no one disputes that.

                      Again: the mag 9 quake was 450 miles away ;D the quake on site was perhaps 6 perhaps 6.5.

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      The german regulation is enough to keep a huge percentage of the tanks intact.

                      Not in areas strongly affected by the earthquake or tsunami. I note you keep using weasel phrases, "huge percentage", "usually", "unlucky", "here and there". The problem is that a magnitude 9 earthquake exceeds the specifications of your regulations. It's not a usual disaster. Sure, things will fare better than if you just blew off having regulations in the first place. But you're delusional, if you think German regulations can handle a magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent 10-15 meter flood waters.

                      Again: the mag 9 quake was 450 miles away ;D the quake on site was perhaps 6 perhaps 6.5.

                      Which si

                    • It is common sense that an item that is stronger than another one has les chances to break under similar situations.

                      Fact is "oil tanks" are regulated in germany to prevent such desasters. Not because of earthquakes, but regular river floods, we had quite a few recent years. And the "water protection" works very well meanwhile.

                      As you yourself pointed out: the destruction of the towns was by the tsunami. Not by the quake. So obviously the magnitude 9 quake did not hit those towns.

                      'On site' you can define your

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      It is common sense that an item that is stronger than another one has les chances to break under similar situations.

                      Nobody is disagreeing with you here or that there are some benefits to regulation even for events that exceed the scope of the regulations' intentions. What I disagree with is your glib, uninformed assertion that German regulated buildings would hold up to a magnitude 9 earthquake and its aftereffects even one that's a moderate distance away.

                      My point all along has been, as I originally stated, that regulations aren't intended to fix extreme disasters like magnitude 9 earthquakes, but more likely disaster

                    • Sorry, you jump to conclusions. I never said german buildings would withstand a mag 9 quake. Imnever said that an oil tank would. I pointed out that oil tanks can be much safer, as any other tank.
                      I don't really know what you're trying to say here. It's pretty clear that these towns were hit by both earthquake and tsunami. No, it is pretty clear that those towns _only_ got hit by the tsunami. Google/youtube is your friend.
                      In an area with a lot of fractured rock such as eastern Japan, earthquakes lose energy

                    • Sorry, seems I accidentally hit post, when I was still editing.

                      I meant to post this:
                      ----
                      Sorry, you jump to conclusions. I never said german buildings would withstand a mag 9 quake. I never said that an oil tank would. I pointed out that oil tanks can be much safer, as any other tank.
                      I don't really know what you're trying to say here. It's pretty clear that these towns were hit by both earthquake and tsunami. No, it is pretty clear that those towns _only_ got hit by the tsunami. Google/youtube is your friend

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      Fact: the Fukushima reactor, (barely) survived a mag 6 quake.

                      Not a fact as I've already explained. You continue to insist on an inappropriate use of the term, "magnitude". And the duration of shaking from a magnitude 9 earthquake would be much longer even if the peak acceleration is equivalent to that of a point blank 6 or 7 magnitude earthquake (which incidentally is another reason not to use magnitude here).

                    • Yeah, you don't get me, I realize.
                      Go back to school and stop propagating your bullshit ideas.
                      A quake with mag 9 at a certain point should have level 4 or 3 when it is 450 miles away.
                      I gracefully assumed, for arguments sake, it was still mag 6 when it hit Fukushima.
                      Fact is, contradicting to your facts/ideas/asumptions: the reminants of that quake nearly destroyed the plant. The tsunami gave it the "coupe de grace".
                      You continue to insist on an inappropriate use of the term, "magnitude"
                      No, rofl, you do!
                      Mag 1:

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      A quake with mag 9 at a certain point should have level 4 or 3 when it is 450 miles away.

                      Completely wrong. A magnitude 3 earthquake for example, might last only a fraction of a second. A magnitude 9 earthquake might under the right distance and local conditions have shaking that is no greater than the peak acceleration of the magnitude 3 earthquake, but it might last half an hour.

                      Yes, you're only experiencing a small portion of the power of the big earthquake even when integrated over this relatively long time, but that's still a lot more energy than you receive from the smaller earthquake.

                    • by khallow (566160)
                      As an aside, your magnitude scales are goofed up. For example, a sedate pedestrian and hard peddling cyclist differ in power consumption by a factor of four or so. A train can use more power than a fighter jet (and it is a huge jump up from a car). And the Space Shuttle has well over half the power generation of the Saturn V at peak thrust.
                    • Even an inverse square law isn't going to disperse that energy very much.
                      Ofc it does. We only need to find a reliable source how strong the effect of an earthquake is declining over, lets say over 10km distance.

                      As far as I know the length of a quake has nothing to do with its magnitude, only the peak "power" has.

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      As far as I know the length of a quake has nothing to do with its magnitude, only the peak "power" has.

                      Then you don't know enough to carry on this discussion. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org],

                      The seismic moment M_0 is a measure of the total amount of energy that is transformed during an earthquake.

                      There is a lot of nuance here such as most of the energy of an earthquake gets transformed into heating not shaking. But it remains that magnitude doesn't measure peak "power" of an earthquake. It doesn't matter if the slipping fault takes a fraction of second or ten minutes to slip.

                      Ofc it does. We only need to find a reliable source how strong the effect of an earthquake is declining over, lets say over 10km distance.

                      Why don't you find this "reliable source"?

                    • I just read up.

                      The length of a quake has nothing to do with its magnitude.

                      And perhaps you should read and comprehend the link you posted. It is not about the Richter Scale, about we obviously are talking since a week. Half of the text is wrong anyway. The Richter scale is not a "former" scale to measure earthquakes, but "the scale" to do so.

                      For reference: the Fukushima earthquake was slightly above 9 on the Richter scale, no idea on what measurement it was on MMS, according to the wiki article (quick glance

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      The length of a quake has nothing to do with its magnitude.

                      That depends on what you're doing. If you're integrating earthquake power over time, then it does matter. There's an obvious time dependency in that case, for example, the earthquake can continue (releasing yet more energy) rather than stop.

                      For reference: the Fukushima earthquake was slightly above 9 on the Richter scale, no idea on what measurement it was on MMS

                      Magnitude 9.0. [wikipedia.org]

                      You are the one arguing that a quake 450 miles away from its epicenter has the same power as at the epicenter ... ignoring the fact that it then, by common logic, would have the same power 1000miles away, and 10,000 miles away and 25,000 miles away ... on the other side of the globe.

                      And I've already corrected you on this misconception. Why continue to claim such things?

                    • And I've already corrected you on this misconception. Why continue to claim such things?

                      No, you did not correct me on the (my postulated) misconception.

                      The one who is wrong is you! Repeating old (wrong) arguments make no sense.

                      So you claim now, the city of Fukushima got hit by a mag 9 quake? Is that your claim? So what mag had the quake/epicenter 450 miles away?

                      Los Angeles is a city with roughly 80 miles diameter.

                      A mag 9 quake, with its epicenter in the middle of the city, would completely destroy that cit

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      So you claim now, the city of Fukushima got hit by a mag 9 quake? Is that your claim? So what mag had the quake/epicenter 450 miles away?

                      Look, this is like claiming that a 250 horsepower car is 3 horsepower, if you stand a few hundred feet away. Or a hot dog has a lot more energy content, if it's on your plate rather than on some other plate halfway across the restaurant. You're completely ignoring the meaning of earthquake magnitude. It doesn't mean peak acceleration.

                      So you claim now, the city of Fukushima got hit by a mag 9 quake? Is that your claim? So what mag had the quake/epicenter 450 miles away?

                      The city/precinct whatever of Fukushima did get hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake with an epicenter some distance away. There's no "claim" to it. That's just what happened.

                      If you like to live in a pipe dream that it is possible for humans to build a "construction" that can survive a mag 9 quake: dream on!

                      I can

                    • You're completely ignoring the meaning of earthquake magnitude. It doesn't mean peak acceleration.
                      No it is rather you who does not grasp it. The simplest explanation: just look at the curve of a seismograph. The amplitude of the line defines the strength of the earth quake, not the amount of paper it "painted black"

                      The city/precinct whatever of Fukushima did get hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake with an epicenter some distance away. There's no "claim" to it. That's just what happened
                      No it did not :D

                      But I f

                    • by khallow (566160)
                      Do you have a point to all this? Magnitude doesn't mean what you claim it means. It's not a "curve" of a seismograph or its amplitude. It just isn't what you claim it is.

                      That is peak acceleration. And when you discuss that with respect to magnitude, you still need to discuss the duration of the earthquake because longer earthquakes have more energy and hence are higher magnitude than shorter earthquakes when all is equal.

                      I linked to moment magnitude [wikipedia.org]. Read up on it.
        • The simplest answer to what spilled is "Everything" - nearly anything that human civilization has produced was present on the Japanese coast. Not even including industrial sites, you have pesticides, photographic developers, cleaning supplies, oil, medicines, antifreeze, fermenting garbage and excrement, etc etc... Have you seen video of the tsunami hitting a populated area? These aren't beach waves, it's more like a flash flood that buries the city under 30ft of water within minutes, then that water sucks
      • Astonishing that scientists think otherwise. Why don't you sue them for 'neglecting their duty'?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Such studies are done regularly after disasters in Japan, because the law requires companies to make sure their facilities don't leak dangerous chemicals in the event of an earthquake of tsunami. It did happen in some places where the tsunami was impossible to defend against, and efforts are being made to avoid making the same mistakes.

        Having said that, it's less of an immediate issue than the nuclear one because no-one is proposing rebuilding dangerous chemical storage facilities in areas known to be vulne

      • Problem is, nobody cares to do that study because there is no agenda driving it, and no funding, and no press would care.

        It would be a hoot and a half if it turned out the Big Coal was funding the Fukushima studies:

        "See! Nukes bad and evil! Coal healthy and wholesome!"

      • by gzuckier (1155781)

        I can guarantee that if they studied the impact of various chemical spills and other impacts left behind by the tsunami, they would find orders of magnitude more 'genetic impacts' than anything they'll find due to radiation. Problem is, nobody cares to do that study because there is no agenda driving it, and no funding, and no press would care.

        Yes, because there is no public suspicion of "chemicals" and no publicly funded studies of things that might pollute the environment, by some agency which might be interested in environmental pollution.... I wonder if anyone has done studies on the affect of low level nuclear industry radiation on paranoia and feelings of persecution?

  • Did it cause anything to grow bigger?
  • by Mike Greaves (1236) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:12PM (#47685139) Homepage

    Did the AC submitter read the abstracts? Did they understand them?
    * The papers on chronic (low-dose rate) exposures focussed on the DNA repair and other healthy mechanisms in the exposed organisms.
    * Some of the butterfly exposures were done as high-dose rate simulations in the lab, not env exposures.
    * The monkey blood-count study was mentioned in the Eurekalert article, but NOT in any of the *journal* (of heredity) papers that I could see; it has been widely criticized on several bases (improbably-low causative dose and insufficient statistical power).
    * Look at the refutations at the bottom of this sensational Guardian article:
    http://t.co/LuPJHv2Js9
    “Unfortunately yet another paper with insufficient power to distinguish real effects and relevance to human health”
    "correlations between the caesium and low blood counts in the Fukushima study were not statistically strong."
    "monkeys are about the same as those found in sheep in some parts of the **UK** following the Chernobyl accident, i.e. extremely low .."
    "in terms of damage to the animals themselves. I think it much more likely that the apparently low blood cell counts are caused by something other than radiation"

    • Did the AC submitter read the abstracts? Did they understand them?

      You mean mdsolar. He had to post AC because he knew he'd use up his weekend anti-nuke submission quota up.

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      "monkeys are about the same as those found in sheep in some parts of the **UK** following the Chernobyl accident, i.e. extremely low .."

      They measured cesium in the UK sheep, the levels were too high for 26 years after the Chernobyl disaster. I remember having to drink powdered milk because cows milk was radioactively contaminated. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-eng... [bbc.com]

      "in terms of damage to the animals themselves. I think it much more likely that the apparently low blood cell counts are caused by something othe

    • by Behrooz (302401)

      The difficulty with any study of low-level radiation doses on exposed organisms is that ecosystems are messy and complicated, and the actual low-level biological mechanics for low-dose exposures are entirely conjectural, so observed effects have a very, very low signal to noise ratio.

      Setting up controlled studies with a large enough scale to make statistically significant judgements greatly exceeds available resources for researchers in the field, leaving statistical analysis of effectively uncontrolled rea

  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#47685279) Homepage Journal

    We will be flooded with posts from mainly americans about:
    o how few people died in Fukushima
    o how harmless radioactivity/radiation is
    o that no one died to fallout in the atomic bombings, as it where air bursts
    o that no one died in Nagasaki or Hiroshima 'after' the fallout, as the ground level radiation was neglegtible
    o that we have no clue and mix up Bequerels with Sieverts

    And then we have the discussion about: cutting corners, it would work if people would adhere to the rules, waste, oh, reprocessing, more waste, no: reprocessing does not cause more waste ... depositing the waste, the waste that does not exist ... oh, and it is impossible to do base load with wind and solar ... erm, wind or solar, and then they finally say: coal,kills more than nuclear, because they mix up mining with power production, then they claim coal ash is more dangerous than nuclear waste ...

    Ah, have to see if there is a good movie to night on TV.

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      The prices of battery storage and solar power are dropping through the floor, any gov't who sanctions extremely expensive nuclear power right now are idiots.

      With battery storage Solar and Wind can easily power most of the worlds energy needs, several European countries are already hitting 50%+ renewable energy.

      Without subsidy, solar panels on roofs in the UK can pay for themselves in only 12 years, after that it's practically free electricity. With the current subsidies payback now only takes 6 years! US re

    • by nietsch (112711)

      >> how few people died in Fukushima
      Yes, many people died in Fukushima and the coastal region hit by the tsunami. About 20.000 people IIRC. None of those deaths are attributable to the meltdowns or radioactive release that occurred later. What I find disgusting is that you wilfully ignore and abuse the death of so many people to further your unrelated point about nuclear energy. That is as absurd as saying that the people on flight MH17 (shot down by anti-aircraft missle) died because your god does no

      • Just read the other /. articels about anything happening or happened in Fukushima and you find dozens in every one exactly pointing out (wrongly) the points I made :D

        But obviously you did not get my sarcastic comment.
        Next time please post answers to those morons who do exactly what I feared they would do :D

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sensationalism aside, this is actually pretty exciting! This is one of the first real oppritunities to study the effects of high radiation exposure in the wild. Chernobyl really wasn't able to be studied heavily until the collapse of the USSR, at which point many isotopes had signifigantly degraded.

    Such studies have very wide ranging implications in the theory of evoloution, paleoentology, etc. Ionizing radiation was a big part of Earth's past and now we can study some of the ways it may have affected life.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @10:18PM (#47687121) Journal

    Ignoring the politics of this discussion for a moment, what we are seeing here is the process of bio-accumulation expressed in nature. These are the radiological effects on small species at the bottom of the foodchain and what we are observing is the amount of time it takes these radionuclides to be moved through the food chain whilst affecting these creatures.

    This is because radio isotopes present to a metabolism like a micro-nutrient that can be utilized in the body, for example pu-239 analogues iron so to a metabolism, it is used like iron would be. The creatures that consume it are themselves consumed by their predators.

    Once ingested, radiation emitters are move somewhere in the body where that nutrient (analogue) is required. Alpha, beta and gamma radiation is emitted at various energetic levels as the radionuclide decays inside the body. The surrounding tissue absorbs the radiation and the gestation period for cancer, lasting roughly six years in humans, begins as a direct effect of exposure to the radio isotope. The indirect effect is on the genome and the DNA which is what I suspect we are observing now.

    The affect of radionuclide contamination on humans is inevitable and the simple fact here is that the longer the radionuclides are release into the environment, the more there will be increasing the effects and variation.

    • The short term death-toll is less of an issue than the long term dietary exposure.

      Ironically it is the American denialists that are most likely to exposed via Pacific seafood.

      The risk is not one of average exposures but a crapshoot of who gets to be the offspring of the person who ate the fish that ate the wrong mollusk which ate the wrong particle of the wrong isotope.

      Americans could limit you exposure by choosing seafood from the west coast. oh wait.
      • by MrKaos (858439)
        Thank you, I don't expect to get modded up because the debate gets so polarized, there are things that both sides of this debate are uncomfortable about Nuclear Power. A) that it *is* so toxic and B) We have opened pandora's box and there is no closing it.
    • by delt0r (999393)
      You mite want to read the papers. The Summary is misleading to a straight out lie.
  • Godzilla has to start somehow. They've made it a self fulfilling prophecy with lax safety standards.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Working...