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Fukushima's Biological Legacy

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the please-be-mothra-please-be-mothra dept.

Japan 116

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.

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Queue the "nothing to see here" comments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685031)

No no.. its just like nature ate a box of bananas. Nothing to be alarmed about.

Re:Queue the "nothing to see here" comments (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685281)

Look, I know Beta is laggy, but there's no reason to presume they queue the comment postings.

It can suck all on its own without having to believe they deliberately added more suck.

Re:Queue the "nothing to see here" comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685467)

Ok Ok.. you are right. Ill buy a clue and take your cue to resent my original misuse, misspelling, and outright abuse of the word queue.

Re:Queue the "nothing to see here" comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685665)

Very mature and example of being a good sport.

Re:Queue the "nothing to see here" comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687003)

Am I on the right website?

I for one welcome our (1)

future assassin (639396) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685045)

beautiful blood sucking butterflies.

Re:I for one welcome our (5, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685057)

overlords that is. Sorry they were chasing me and didn't have time to finish.

Re:I for one welcome our (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687017)

beautiful blood sucking butterflies.

How cool would that be? A butterfly lands on a bird and suddenly the bird goes flat like an empty balloon! The butterfly belches and has a hard time taking off...

Mothra? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685047)

How soon can we expect Mothra to attack?

Toho (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685333)

As soon as Toho Co. Ltd. [hollywoodreporter.com] says it's OK.

Re: Mothra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47686581)

Wait for Godzilla first.

Not That Surprising (0)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685049)

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 (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about a month and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Impact of humans (0)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685167)

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.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a month and a half ago | (#47692895)

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 released everyday.

It takes years for these radio isotopes to move through the food chain, however they are there now and remain until they completely decay. I would expect the next species affected are lizards and birds. The gestation rate of cancer in humans is roughly 6 years, so we should unfortunately see the first cases of disease from direct exposure to radionuclides start appearing in humans (probably children) around 2017.

After that, the random time factor introduced by the process of bio-accumulation becomes a factor and I would expect a statistical increase of other types of cancers in humans to gestate some years after that followed by genomic effects decades after that. Funding for collecting this data at Chernobyl was cut after 10 years, iirc, so there is no hard data to understand what will happen in the human population after that. I'm not stating an opinion for or against nuclear power, I'm just pointing out this is how these radio analogues work in the foodchain and that this is what happened.

Re:Impact of humans (0)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685445)

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:Impact of humans (1, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685731)

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.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686733)

Except that Fukushima is not even close to Chernobyl in the level of pollution.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687731)

Which is part of my point, yes. Thank you for spelling out the obvious I guess?

Re:Impact of humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47689673)

Except that Fukushima is not even close to Chernobyl in the level of pollution.

You are correct. As far as long-term consequences go, Fukushima is already far worse. Couple that with the enormous efforts undertaken to decontaminate the land after the Chernobyl NPP accident - something entirely missing in Japan's case even today - and you can see why your statement is correct, but not necessarily in the direction you implied.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a month and a half ago | (#47692953)

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 indicates that some very basic biological functions have been halted at Chernobyl and aren't likely to restart any time soon. If you are going to talk about bio-diversity then you can't just point to all the fluffy creatures and say "see, they're fine" you also have to look at the slimy creatures that live in the dirt because they are the ones that are important to us beyond sentimental reasons.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47701753)

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.

Mod parent up. Not a Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685449)

The comment was well reasoned and insightful not inciteful.

Re:Impact of humans (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685499)

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

Re:Impact of humans (2)

the monolith (1174927) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685573)

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?

Re:Impact of humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685813)

Without humans to feed on the Lawyers will probably die out or mutate into something useful pretty soon.

Re:Not That Surprising (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685295)

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.

Re:Not That Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47686905)

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.

I hear there's cheap housing and land in Pripyat. Maybe all these banana boys should move there?

Best of all, (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685051)

Godzilla is now based on science!

"Big" effects... (0, Troll)

cirby (2599) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685067)

...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!"

Population declines (2, Insightful)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685081)

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:Population declines (1, Insightful)

mean pun (717227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685101)

By not studying the narrow strip of land that was affected by the tsunami.

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685265)

You also have to exclude from the study species that occasionally go to the shore, or species that depend on a species that does. If that's too abstract for you, imagine an inland bird that feeds on insects that lay their eggs on a specific shore plant.

Re:Population declines (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685315)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685351)

So you mean the nuclear plant and surrounding hot zone?

Re:Population declines (1)

mean pun (717227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685431)

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.

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685837)

Yeah, but most of that area has lower background radiation than Finland. (But still higher than what is common in Japan.) If you want the area that actually has high radiation levels you pretty much have to go to the areas trashed by the tsunami.

Re:Population declines (1)

mean pun (717227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47693479)

Hmm, this smells like a talking point from a lobbying group.

In any case, it is irrelevant. It is a rare opportunity for a before/after comparative study of the effect of this level of radiation. Why not take it?

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686165)

No, by realizing the tsunami was weeks before the meltdown (* facepalm *)

Re:Population declines (4, Interesting)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Population declines (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685327)

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?

Re:Population declines (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685361)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685551)

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]

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686177)

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! ?

Re:Population declines (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686545)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686741)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686973)

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.

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687107)

Wee bits of assorted chemicals also drift into the air every time you fart as well.

But those particles aren't ionizing and generally don't cause cancer, unless you've been eating a lot of Brussels sprouts lately.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47698609)

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
Fourth: you make sure if pipes into the tank are secured with self sealing vents. Simple again.

Is that "fail proof"? No. but it greatly reduces the damage in case of a catastrophe. And yes: the basic principles how to to that are: simple, very simple indeed.

Re:Population declines (1)

khallow (566160) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687045)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47698559)

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 ... and a typical (modern) building is minimum save to a quake 6.

For chemical plants or chemical processing industries the regulations are really tough. You wont find a small/medium business storing dangerous chemicals so open that a simple flood or a simple "the tank is tumbling over" due to a quake will cause big issues.

Issues will be like everywhere: ruptured gas pipes.

OFC: tanks like above will be destroyed here and there in such an event. But the parent is greatly exaggerating the issue.

Re:Population declines (1)

khallow (566160) | about a month and a half ago | (#47698923)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47699023)

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.

Re:Population declines (1)

khallow (566160) | about a month and a half ago | (#47699783)

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 site is this "on site"? The magnitude 9 earthquake would be magnitude 9 no matter where you are. Magnitude is a measure of the moment of the earthquake, which is independent of where you happen to be. For the actual shaking, it can be less or more, depending on the structure of the ground and interference patterns of the earthquake.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47700049)

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 yourself, take the nuclear plant, take a random town close buy, take the power lines that collapsed, what ever. All the damage on land was not caused by a mag 9 quake, but a mere mag 6 one.

A mag 9 quake in a city, pick any you want, would flatten it besides the few rare lucky building, completely.

Your idea that the quake has everywhere the same strength is complete idiotic. Like any "force" or "power" or "effect" on a "surface" it gets weaker with the square of the distance. Otherwise the whole planet would have been shaken by a mag 9 quake. Funnily there was no shaking ground in Germany.

The epicenter of the quake is easy to google, with google maps you can easy estimate the distance to the town Fukushima.

Re:Population declines (1)

sound+vision (884283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686433)

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 everything back out to sea. Anything in that city is going out with the water, unless it's purpose-built to withstand a tsunami. You'd think that would be the case for chemical storage, but it looks like even the nuclear plant wasn't built for it.

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47686979)

The nuclear plant *was* built for it, but being a Gen 1 design, it had a design flaw in the ventilation, and required constant power and the backup generators got washed away. If it had been installed properly and had had that design flaw mitigated as it was supposed to have been, it would have been fine.

Re:Population declines (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685339)

Astonishing that scientists think otherwise. Why don't you sue them for 'neglecting their duty'?

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685341)

Too bad your "guarantee" is a worthless crock of shit you hand-scooped out of your asshole then placed in your mouth.

Re:Population declines (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686205)

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 vulnerable to tsunami. The nuclear industry does want to re-start reactors in areas known to be vulnerable to tsunami and large quakes though. New information about previously known fault lines and other hazards is only now being discovered, which only adds to the concern.

Re:Population declines (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686229)

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!"

world of oz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687067)

cause all those chems were just so much more deadly than the radioactive meltdown of the cores of 4 nuclear power plants and the resultant release of plutonium and cesium that will continue unabated for at least 50 more years?

Re:Population declines (1)

gzuckier (1155781) | about a month and a half ago | (#47690527)

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?

Re:Population declines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687101)

The bodies floating on the water are the ones that were affect by the tsunami. The greens ones with cancerous growths all over them were probably affected by the radiation.

Nuclear shill much?

But ... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685119)

Did it cause anything to grow bigger?

How accurate is the Eurekalert article? (5, Insightful)

Mike Greaves (1236) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685139)

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"

Re:How accurate is the Eurekalert article? (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685175)

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.

Re:How accurate is the Eurekalert article? (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686171)

"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 other than radiation"

Such as? And why would you go for the non-obvious answer.

Re:How accurate is the Eurekalert article? (1)

Behrooz (302401) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687583)

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 real-world populations as the only option.

So, the conclusions are only as reliable as the observations and the statistical analysis. This becomes educated guesswork, and for the most part educated guesswork based on the theoretical model that is being tested.

It's all very well and good to throw out statistics like:

Many other cell types and tissues have been shown to be affected by Chernobyl contaminants. Møller, Bonisoli-Alquati, et al. (2013) demonstrated that the frequency of visible tumors on birds was significantly higher in radioactive areas, presumably reflecting elevated mutation rates in somatic tissues. Visible tumor rates in birds from Chernobyl were in excess of 15/1000 birds while tumors have never been observed in Danish populations despite extensive surveys (0/35000 birds observed) (Møller, Bonisoli-Alquati, et al. 2013). ...unfortunately, the former USSR as a whole exhibits levels of persistent organic pollutants several times greater [nih.gov] than observations in even industrialized areas of Western Europe. POPs are rather easier to study, and are definitively linked to tumor formation.

Attempting to control for various effects in real-world populations is a black art, often practiced and seldom practiced effectively. Often, before you can even start to evaluate the reliability of an article, you'll need to jump several citation links back just to see what assumptions a study is based upon. ...and that is why we still lack conclusive evidence about any long-term negative effects of low-dose radiation exposure.

Re:How accurate is the Eurekalert article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47693797)

Monkeys were found in sheep? I'd call that a serious mutation.

increased mutation rates = survival code kicked in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685199)

Darwin beauty - " increased mutation rates" - organism tries to find one variation that survives.

Re:increased mutation rates = survival code kicked (1)

hey! (33014) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686389)

On the other hand, an idea that can explain anything isn't really scientific. There's no question that evolution by natural selection is a scientific idea, but somehow it gets garbled in translation into an "organism trying to find a variation". In other cases (visible in this discussion) it's seen as benign intelligent force that will compensate for our mistakes. You can purge the white-bearded sky god from your iconography, but it's harder to get him out of your thinking.

Over the next days, we will be flooded! (4, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685279)

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.

Straw Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685391)

I looked up straw man argument on wikipedia and there was a link to the above post. Strange isn't it?

No "Straw Man" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685897)

And I'd add some idiot would even suggest animals could get some superpower from radioactivity.

The guy is basically right. People must find funny other countries make their backyards unusable -- not even for tourism. Hence lots and lots of posts about how nuclear contamination is actually good for your skin.

We've been there before. Does anyone remember the girls contaminated with Radium being called less than respectable?

I don't even have to assume they're paid shills, since some will do evil comments just for the kicks...

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685869)

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

Are you fucking nuts? Are you trying to somehow compare Fukushima nuclear meltdown to nuclear bombs?? Really?? I guess they both have the evil "nuclear" word in them.

If Japanese understanding is at par level with yours, Japan can fuck themselves over and burn up their foreign reserves (literally) importing coal and gas and oil for all I care.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685921)

Who the fuck cares if a backwards marauding country got nuked? Nobody.

They deserved it.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (0)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686263)

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 red tape and profiteering is causing US residential solar to be overly expensive.

http://mic.com/articles/91313/... [mic.com]
The storage necessity myth: how to choreograph high-renewables electricity systems [youtube.com]

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47686951)

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.

Are you saying that batteries (I'll assume solar is free and costs nothing to install and maintain) are cheaper than nuclear power plants? So, 1d worth of power is cheaper with batteries than nuclear?

Well, let's see. Let's make it cloudy for just 1 day (or you know, make it night),

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]
http://www.kitcometals.com/cha... [kitcometals.com]

35Wh/kg for lead. So, price of lead is $1/lb or $2.2/kg. In 1 day, nuclear power plant produces 1500MWh*24 = 36GWh of energy. So storing that in lead-acid batteries, (I'll use 36Wh/kg), would use 36Mt of batteries costing $80b in raw materials alone (36Mt = 36e9kg = ~$80b in lead)

So who looks like an idiot now? 1 *DAY* storage of power produced by a nuclear power plant costs many times more than the capital costs to produce said nuclear power plant. Heck, at 3 days, you may as well buy all the coal and oil for Japanese power plants to last a year.

Sorry, but on a large scale, power plants *are* batteries. Maybe once you understand that, you'll understand how wasteful using regular batteries on a power grid actually is.

The only real "battery" that actually competes is called gravity - pumped storage. Which is hydro. And those cost money too and can't be installed everywhere.

PS. Instead of linking stupid youtube videos, link me a real manufacturer where I can buy the claimed in video $1/W panels. I would like to buy some, really. All I can find around here is the useless $4-6/W crap. I need a few hundred Watts photovoltaic for my 80+% efficient thermal panels and I'm not willing to spend more than $1/W for them. Thanks in advance.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687057)

(I'll use 36Wh/kg), would use 36Mt of batteries costing $80b in raw materials alone (36Mt = 36e9kg = ~$80b in lead)

oops, typo. That's clearly only 1Mt of lead which is only about $2.5b in raw materials. Considering that battery needs replacing every 2 years, that still adds up to quite a bit more than nuclear plant that lasts 80+ years.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

Jappus (1177563) | about a month and a half ago | (#47688219)

Additionally, you forget, that we don't actually have to store all the energy in chemical batteries. There are quite a lot of storage possibilities:

- Pumping water to higher locations
- Splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water
- Spinning up large-mass, high-velocity, low-drag flywheels (it's how the venerable Shuttle stored energy for its week long missions)
- Storing the energy in the electrical network itself (the capacity of several million kilometers of copper cable can be astounding)
- Heating liquid salt reservoirs (which can give back energy via the good old steam turbine)

The list continues for quite some time. Additionally, this is not even considering that you can just get your power from other parts of the world that are not currently cloudy or shrouded in nighttime. It also disregards, that we have other means of generating electricity, like water power, which runs continuously.

The question is not, IF we can produce renewable energy in sufficient and even excessive amounts (after all, remember that all power except for nuclear fission comes directly from converted sunlight. And nuclear fission simply uses up the results of old supernova explosions, instead of regular solar fusion).

The question is: WHEN do we get off our collectives asses, are ready to pay a bit more for power for 10-20 years and then get rid of the problem entirely. And that's assuming power prices wouldn't rise in 20 years to begin with, due to oil, gas, coal and uranium price hikes.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47688387)

Pumping water to higher locations

This is actually the most economical and it's still unbelievably expensive, not to speak of the impact on nature (large-scale flooding of previously unflooded areas) and unavailability in most places in sufficient quantities.

Splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water

This is already being exploited in a much more sensible process where we produce natural gas from the hydrogen and some CO2 sources. The process is expensive, has low efficiency (~25%) and requires that you still maintain a fleet of natural gas plants equivalent to almost all of your daily needs. Pumped hydro is actually cheaper. Also, imperfect piping and methane leaks can lead to quite substantial GHG emissions.

Spinning up large-mass, high-velocity, low-drag flywheels

None of these systems are meant for long-term storage. They're used to smooth out a fluctuating power supply on a second-by-second basis.

(it's how the venerable Shuttle stored energy for its week long missions)

No, the Shuttle used hydrogen fuel cells [nasa.gov] . You're confusing it with reaction wheels, which are used for maintaing attitude control.

Storing the energy in the electrical network itself

The electrical grid doesn't work that way. Yes, the grid has a bunch of electrical inertia, but nowhere near the amount needed to provide backup for any sensibly usable amount of time (hence why rotating masses are used for smoothing).

Heating liquid salt reservoirs

At present these top out at around 6h of run time, so about 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than what's needed. Also, they are mightily expensive. Add 72 hours of salt storage to your friendly solar plant and you'll see its cost fly through the roof.

The question is: WHEN do we get off our collectives asses, are ready to pay a bit more for power for 10-20 years and then get rid of the problem entirely

The answer is: never. For every 1 rich person you see on the planet, who can afford to overpay for energy, there's 5-6 people who can't. They too want electricity. And guess what they'll do to get it.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

Jappus (1177563) | about a month and a half ago | (#47690679)

Just a (sort-of-quick) reply, to what you raised.

Pumping water reservoirs is done all over Europe, without flooding vast areas, as it simply uses already existing glacial areas that were created by similar processes to begin with. It's not meant to be done in flat areas, certainly, but no-one every said one solution fits everything. There are no silver bullets.

I briefly considered splitting natural gas production and the simpler hydrogen/oxygen production, but then found it just belabouring the point. The idea of turning electrical energy into bond energy is chiefly the same in both cases, they just arrive at it with different means.

Yes, flywheels are for short duration load balancing, of seconds to some dozen minutes. Newer designs actually promise a lot more, given the ever advancing march if science. Plus, see again the point about the "no-silver-bullet" thingy.

As for the shuttle, to split hairs, I never specified it stored the flywheel energy for electrical purposes. Reaction mass is energy, too. But I yield to your point, that I should have been more specific. The main point was, that it can store energy for weeks without significant losses, anyway.

The grid-storage idea currently only falls flat because of the design of the network in most parts of the world, which is geared towards putting energy production facilities smack next to energy utilizing facilities (like coal plants next to aluminium smelters), and isolating these nets from each other, with long switchover times. It's never going to store energy for hours -- but then again, many parts of the net actually have the lowest demand during the night. Which is why power is cheaper at night to begin with (for large consumers, at least).

Even Liquid salt reservoirs with just 6h of time are already enough to cover a night during the shorter nights of the year. Certainly not a factor of 10 difference --- or barely even 2, if you used binary magnitudes.

As for your point about rich/poor people: You forget that companies use most of the power in industrialized countries; it's what makes them industrialized. No-one can tell me, that Google can't afford a few million less net income -- and mid-level companies usually do not need multiple mega watts. Sure, the cost may be large ... but then again, how much did the nations of this world offer as trust coverage for the bad banks from 2008 to today?

Point being: It's our short-sighted greed, that causes us to avoid these expenditures. No-one is going to starve because of a 5% price hike on energy -- which, by the way, is a hike that'll come anyway once fossil fuel gets more expensive. I mean, how much has the oil barrel price risen since 1970? Several thousand percent? Sounds about right.

Also, for a more cynical point, the jobs lost are offset by the jobs gained building this improved infrastructure. Just ask the weavers, spinners and loom operators of the 18th century, what they thought about the automated loom; and look how many jobs were created precisely because of the raised productivity this brought.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47691163)

Pumping water reservoirs is done all over Europe, without flooding vast areas, as it simply uses already existing glacial areas that were created by similar processes to begin with.

Except there are nowhere near enough of those natural reservoirs available for any appreciable amount of large-scale storage, hence why there are projects like Jachenau [www.br.de] , Osser [waldberge.de] and Atdorf [youtube.com] . All of these installations are constructed by excavation of a large volume of elevated mountain terrain, reinforcing it with concrete and leak-tight materials to prevent natural embankment weathering and/or catastrophic dam failure and flooding them.

Newer designs actually promise a lot more, given the ever advancing march if science.

No advancements in engineering and materials science can ever hope to circumvent the laws of physics. Flywheels are simply an extremely shitty way of storing vast amounts of energy long-term. For frequency regulation, okay. But for storing TWh's worth of energy, it's insanely expensive. This [staticflickr.com] is the Beacon Power (who went bankrupt, btw) Stephentown flywheel energy storage and frequency regulation plant that can store all of 5 MWh worth of energy (about 1 large wind turbine for 1 hour). Meanwhile, in reality, in order to be able to smooth out solar production, you'd need at least 3-4 day's worth [imgur.com] of nearly the whole freakin' grid's power. Just to store one 1GW nuclear reactor's equivalent production for one day you'd need about 5000 of such flywheel storage plants.

These are not made up figures. Here I've taken actual whole-German power production figures from Dec 2013 and blown them up 5x simulating a buildout of their current ~35 GW of wind & ~30 GW of solar installed capacity to insanely high levels (to a total of 325 GW of nameplate installed capacity - actual current total nameplate installed capacity in Germany is ~180 GW) and analyzed the shortfall. It'd still require ~550x the largest pumped hydro storage plant that exists in Germany (Goldisthal, which cost a cool 600 mil Euros, so just multiply to get a feel for the capital cost on top of the 5x wind & solar buildout). I didn't even need to be very picky about the month, as the same situation repeated [imgur.com] itself on the very next month of Jan 2014. Now imagine you wanted to meet just 10% of this storage requirement using flywheels - that'd be on the order of 466 GWh, or about 100000 of the Stephentown flywheel energy storage plants, taking up ~1000km^2 just for the freakin' plants.

So energy storage seems a dynamite idea, but it's only when you start to run the numbers that you begin to realize the scale of the problem involved and how laughable some of the proposed solutions are.

As for the shuttle, to split hairs, I never specified it stored the flywheel energy for electrical purposes. Reaction mass is energy, too. But I yield to your point, that I should have been more specific. The main point was, that it can store energy for weeks without significant losses, anyway.

You're not splitting hairs, you're just covering your ass for being dead wrong. At no point did the shuttle use flywheels for any kind of energy storage or energy source. Just admit that you were wrong and move on.

Even Liquid salt reservoirs with just 6h of time are already enough to cover a night during the shorter nights of the year.

Have a look at the graphs of power production graphs I posted above again. I didn't make these up, they're actual production figures. Then understand that 6h doesn't even begin approach the required scale.

No-one can tell me, that Google can't afford a few million less net income

You are focusing on rich countries again. Availability of cheap enough power is a life-and-death issue in developing nations, who need access to fertilizer production to feed themselves, refrigeration and transport services, lighting, etc. Any amount you save in the developed world by mandating that businesses do some greenwashing by putting solar panels up (guess where the materials for those are mined and what byproducts they emit) will promptly be wiped by people in developing nations getting out of poverty. In fact, a while back I've taken IEC figures and did a quick analysis on the amount of energy consumed per person and predicted world population growth from the US census bureau - even if we do a great job of reducing our energy use in the developed world (which we're not, but whatever), we'll still use vastly larger amounts of energy [imgur.com] by the year 2050.

Also, for a more cynical point, the jobs lost are offset by the jobs gained building this improved infrastructure.

At no point did I state that I think jobs lost cannot be regained, but I see this bragging about jobs from renewable advocates all the time and don't quite get it: how is bragging that your power source is highly labor-intensive a good thing? It's like claiming that we should stop using agricultural machinery and switch to manual field work - see, how many jobs we've just created!

In any case, I think I've made my point enough already. What we need is not wait for some miracle bullet down the line that might make renewable by unreliable/intermittent sources super-duper cheap and reliable. We need cheap, reliable, zero-CO2 power now and renewables to play some part of a role on the periphery of the peak load capturing market. Like I said, actually running the numbers is a sobering experience.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687233)

They are now asking and bribing the fishermen to let them dump the waste water in the ocean.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about a month and a half ago | (#47688615)

Mutations, Cut off your right index finger and try and call that a good mutation. The odds of getting any good mutations from a nuke accident is zero.

Re:Over the next days, we will be flooded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47687557)

> o how few people died in Fukushima

Few? Try nobody, unless you count someone who had something fall on him.

> o how harmless radioactivity/radiation is

It's very harmful... at high doses. You're getting a background dose of it right now.

> o that no one died to fallout in the atomic bombings, as it where air bursts

Absurd strawman.

> o that no one died in Nagasaki or Hiroshima 'after' the fallout, as the ground level radiation was neglegtible

Again.

> o that we have no clue and mix up Bequerels with Sieverts

I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. One is a large, scary, meaningless number (as far as safety goes) and the other defines a number calculated to show the health impact. The choice of one number rather than another can show a lot about a person's knowledge and motivation.

flood (1)

nietsch (112711) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687935)

>> 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 not like gays.

>> how harmless radioactivity/radiation is
It is and it isn't, it all depends on the dose. Here is your test: go outside and stand in the sun for 5 minutes. Nothing bad will happen while you bask in the radiation of that nuclear fusion reactor called the sun. Now do the same for a little longer at a higher elevation (ie on a mountaintop) and you will get a nasty sunburn. Too much exposure to UV will raise your chances of getting skin cancer dramatically, yet we still allow people to expose themselves that much.

>> that no one died to fallout in the atomic bombings, as it where air bursts
>> that no one died in Nagasaki or Hiroshima 'after' the fallout, as the ground level radiation was neglegtible [sic]

You do know that you are conflating two things: bombs meant to kill and destruct, and nuclear power (stations) designed to provide power and thus keep people alive? But as we have arrived at apparently your biggest fear: many more (>1000) atom bombs have been exploded since as tests, and somehow it did not destroy the world. Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your fear of atom bombs and nuclear power, and put it into perspective with the rest of the dangers that threaten humanity: The same as seen in the Fukushima Tsunami: drowning. One of the biggest threats is global warming, leading to an observable rise in sea levels. Nuclear energy may be (not so) dangerous stuff, fossil energy is unfortunately way more dangerous. The choice is between these two, because all renewable energy schemes are not ready.

>> that we have no clue and mix up Bequerels with Sieverts

Yes, that may be the case. Being proud of your ignorance is something I think should be punishable, go stand in the corner with your dunce hat on.

Re:flood (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47699419)

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

Much to learn (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685527)

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.

"dead in the water" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47685541)

"dead in the water" was a pretty unfortunate choice of words, given that the Fukushima problems started with water, continue with leaking / storage problem water, and cause death to things in the water...

Why is this a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47686135)

Genetic mutation is at the very core of Darwinian evolution. Surely, while many of these mutations will be bad and cause reduced lifespans for the individuals affected, SOME portion of these mutations must surely be positive (random mutation) leading to better survival chances and small hops forward in evolution. Every nuclear "disaster" like this should cause many individuals to die-off prematurely (not affecting evolution at all unless some were quite unique) not have any effect on some individuals, and cause "positive" mutations in some small number of individuals (which might not otherwise have naturally occurred and which will now be passed-on to offspring)

What's the problem as long as this did not affect a significant population of an endangered species?

Re:Why is this a problem? (1)

hey! (33014) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686147)

Genetic mutation is at the very core of Darwinian evolution.

So is death.

Re:Why is this a problem? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686997)

Genetic mutation is at the very core of Darwinian evolution. Surely, while many of these mutations will be bad and cause reduced lifespans for the individuals affected, SOME portion of these mutations must surely be positive (random mutation) leading to better survival chances and small hops forward in evolution. Every nuclear "disaster" like this should cause many individuals to die-off prematurely (not affecting evolution at all unless some were quite unique) not have any effect on some individuals, and cause "positive" mutations in some small number of individuals (which might not otherwise have naturally occurred and which will now be passed-on to offspring)

What's the problem as long as this did not affect a significant population of an endangered species?

I have one word for you: Godzilla.

Again... Why is this a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47693061)

The postulated Godzilla would be better-suited to survive than everything it massacres and would, therefore, be a step forward for evolution. Remember: evolution is an unguided mechanism; it does not care about humans, or cute kittens, or ponies, or venemous snakes... those species best suited survive and evolve as needed while those less-suited to survive die-off. If humans create nuclear disasters which in-turn create an increase in genetic mutation then some of these mutations must (as a consequence of randomness) be positive and if these lead to a superior species arising and wiping-out humanity then this is entirely proper. What could be wrong with it? I acknowledge that many humans have an irrational nearly-religious view of evolution as a "good" process that gave rise to humans and will lead to a bright future of more-evolved humans, but that's NOT written into stone tablets anywhere. If humans are wiped-out by evolution then that is entirely natural and proper even if humans caused the mutations. As evolved animals, everything we do is natural including the creation of nuclear disasters that cause mutations - it's just what we do (and perhaps what we are here to do for our brief moment atop the evolutionary ladder).

Do not fear the gigantic city-stomping lizards, airliner-sized moths with lasers, skyscraper-sized sea sails, etc.... whatever arises will be interesting and exciting and will eventually be replaced by something even more fantastic until the stars die-out and the universe assumes a uniform deep, dark freeze. Everything will end eventually anyway and all the memory of everything that existed will be lost, so there is no point getting attached to any of it, particularly not the fragile, puny little naked bipeds who currently think they run this planet, when in reality they may just be queueing up to be snack for the next owners of the place.

Bio-accumulation (2)

MrKaos (858439) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687121)

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.

Re:Bio-accumulation - MOD Parent UP (1)

BeCre8iv (563502) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687785)

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.

Re:Bio-accumulation - MOD Parent UP (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a month and a half ago | (#47691595)

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.

Re:Bio-accumulation (1)

delt0r (999393) | about a month and a half ago | (#47694533)

You mite want to read the papers. The Summary is misleading to a straight out lie.

Godzilla has to start somehow. (1)

PDX (412820) | about a month and a half ago | (#47687393)

Godzilla has to start somehow. They've made it a self fulfilling prophecy with lax safety standards.

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