Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly

Researchers have discovered leaf litter is not decaying at the normal rate in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. After conductiong experiments with leaf litter uncontaminated by fallout  they have established this is true. Tim Mousseau, Univ of S. Carolina: “The gist of our results was that the radiation inhibited microbial decomposition of the leaf litter on the top layer of the soil."

Among other things, this could increase risk of catastrophic wildfire contaminated with radioactive isotopes contained in the leaf litter. Studies have shown there is a risk of fire that could redistribute these radioanuclides ( to areas outside of the exclusion zone. Inhalation of radioactive particles could cause health problems for firefighters and inhabitants of areas where contaminated smoke could be carried on the wind.

Mousseau and colleagues feel it is also necessary to study whether the Fukushima area is experiencing the same phenomena which would indicate the same risks would be present in Japan.

Rachel Nuwer l SMITHSONIANMAG.COM  14 March, 2014

Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today. Although no people live in the extensive exclusion zones around the epicenter, animals and plants still show signs of radiation poisoning.

Birds around Chernobyl have significantly smaller brains that those living in non-radiation poisoned areas; trees there grow slower; and fewer spiders and insects—including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Additionally, game animals such as wild boar caught outside of the exclusion zone—including some bagged as far away as Germany—continue to show abnormal and dangerous levels of radiation. 

However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers—organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay—have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem.

Read more:

A Review and Critical Analysis of the Effective Dose of Radiation Concept by Alexey Yablokov.

Alexey Yablokov l Blacksmith Institute (Journal of Health and Pollution)   June 2013 

"Radioactive pollution and its effects are some of the least visible but most dangerous man-made changes of the biosphere. Though above-ground nuclear weapons testing has been banned since the 1960s, mankind has continued to find new ways to exploit radionuclides. To protect people from anthropogenic radiation contamination, it is necessary to determine an acceptable level and range of exposure. Today, the system of radiation safety endorsed by the U.N. and other multi-national groups is based on the concept of an effective dose—the measure of cancer risk toan entire organism from radiation exposure to its various parts. This review posits there are serious problems with both the concept of an effective dose and the methodology behind its calculation, and that a new framework is needed. In order to study the issues and drawbacks of the official concept of radiation safety, and to assist readers in understanding the basis of his argument, the author sums up and critiques the current system’s main basic postulates and conclusions."

Link to downloadable article:

Radiation and the Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic and Other Leukemias among Chornobyl Cleanup Workers

Radiation and the Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic and Other Leukemias among Chornobyl Cleanup Workers Lydia B. Zablotska, Dimitry Bazyka, Jay H. Lubin, Nataliya Gudzenko, Mark P. Little, Maureen Hatch, Stuart Finch, Irina Dyagil, Robert F. Reiss, Va...

Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki on birth defects caused by Chernobyl and how nuclear power devastates human health

Dr. Helen Caldicott interviews Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki on If You Love This Planet radio.

Listen hear or go to If You Love This Planet Radio to listen, download, or stream.

Dr. Wertelecki


[This week’s guest is Wladimir Wertelecki, the founder and chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics and Birth Defects Center of the University of South Alabama, in the U.S. Prior to his training in Medical Genetics at Harvard University Medical School, Dr. Wertelecki trained in Pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University. Later, he served as Senior Surgeon, U.S. Public Health Commission Corps at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Wertelecki is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and member of the Academy of Pediatrics, and since 1994, he has served as Secretary-Treasurer of theWorld Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects. He has extensively studied the effects of the radiation released by the Chernobyl  meltdown on public health, particularly in children, and discusses his findings with Dr. Caldicott. As background, read the July 2012 article Geneticist charts effects of nuclear disasters, and Dr. Wertelecki’s study Malformations in a Chornobyl-Impacted Region. Also listen to Dr. Caldicott’s interview with Janette Sherman, M.D. on the studies indicating nearly one million people have died as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

You can also subscribe to If You Love This Planet as a podcast on iTunes.

Differences in effects of radiation on abundance of animals in Fukushima and Chernobyl

Important article on damage from radiation contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones.



Differences in effects of radiation on abundance of animals in Fukushima and Chernobyl

  • Anders Pape MølleraCorresponding author contact informationE-mail the corresponding author
  • Isao Nishiumic
  • Hiroyoshi Suzukid
  • Keisuke Uedab
  • Timothy A. Mousseaue
  • a Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud, Bâtiment 362, F-91405 Orsay Cedex, France
  • b Department of Life Sciences, Rikkyo University, 3-34-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima 171-8501, Tokyo, Japan
  • c Department of Zoology, National Museum of Nature and Science, 3-23-1 Haykunin-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0073, Japan
  • d Value Frontier Co., Ltd., 4-13-7, Minamiazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-0047, Japan
  • e Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA


Radioactive contamination can negatively affect the abundance of living beings through the radiation and chemical toxic effects of radionuclides or the effects of mutation accumulation over time. If radiotoxiceffects were the main determinant of the abundance of organisms, we should expect a reduction inabundance immediately following radioactive contamination, while we should expect a gradual increase in negative effects over time if mutation accumulation was the main determinant. In particular, we should expect the main effects at the recently contaminated site in Fukushima to mainly be due to radiotoxicity, while effects at Chernobyl which has been contaminated since 1986 should be a mixture of radiotoxic and mutation accumulation effects. We censused spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, bumblebees, cicadas and birds at 1198 sites in Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi, where major nuclear accidents happened 25 years and 6 months ago, respectively. The mean level of radiation was higher and less variable at Fukushima than at Chernobyl, implying that we should expect more negative effects on the abundanceof animals at Fukushima if immediate effects of radiation were important. While all taxa showed significant declines in abundance with increasing level of background radiation in Chernobyl, only three out of seven taxa showed such an effect at Fukushima. The effect of radiation on abundance differed between the two areas for butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers and spiders, but not for birds or bumblebees. These findings are consistent with the main effects of radiation on the abundance of animals atFukushima being due to radiotoxicity while those at Chernobyl may be due to a mixture of radiotoxicity and mutation accumulation, because chronic exposure have been present for many generations thereby allowing for accumulation of mutations.

To view full text or buy the article go to:

Wladimir Wertelecki, MD: Malformations in a Chornobyl-Impacted Region

Wladimir Wertelecki, MD: Malformations in a Chornobyl-Impacted Region ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: One of the populations most exposed to chronic low-dose radiation from Chornobyl (Chernobyl in Russian) lives in Poli...

CONFIRMED: 36 Percent Of Fukushima Kids Have Abnormal Thyroid Growths And Doctors Have Been Left In The Dark

Business Insider l Michael Kelley   July 19, 2012

A few days ago we reported that 36 percent of Fukushima children have abnormal thyroid growths likely from radiation exposure, based on the "Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey."


We got in touch with Australian pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has spoken about the growths, to ask her about the implications of the study.

After confirming the validity of the report, Caldicott reinforced the alarming nature of the findings:

1. "It is extremely rare to find cysts and thyroid nodules in children."

2. "This is an extremely large number of abnormalities to find in children."

3. "You would not expect abnormalities to appear so early — within the first year or so — therefore one can assume that they must have received a high dose of [radiation]."

4. "It is impossible to know, from what [officials in Japan] are saying, what these lesions are."

Doctors worry about these abnormal growths because some of them could become cancerous.

Read more:

Geneticist charts effects of nuclear disasters

Doctor's studies offer more clarity on the issue of radiation-related birth defects in children. After Chernobyl "most health investigations were focused on cancer induced by radiation, but Wertelecki initiated population studies concerned with ongoing child development, especially birth defects, which continue to this day.

Wertelecki: "It is not the scale of a nuclear accident itself that makes a human disaster it is the response by officials afterward and the public panic produced. The public should not be treated as idiots and told only the 'good half' of the story, as is often done by official agencies. People have the right to know, the need to believe those who are in charge."

Wertelecki is not alone in questioning extrapolation of atomic bomb impact study results from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to all nuclear accidents. And his work supports concern in Japan about the effect on children and pregnant women due to a contaminated food supply. His concerns, shared by many, include not only birth defects now and in the near future but also the long term impact on future generations due to radiation's mutagenic properties.

The impact of the bombs was external radiation, which was intense but short-lived, said the physician. The impact of Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi is ongoing and radiation still in the environment is inhaled or swallowed, leading to accumulation in the body. One mushroom eaten in affected areas may deliver as much radiation as hundreds of chest x-rays, he concluded.

Read full textSally Pearsall Ericson  l 16 July, 2012


Resources: Article- Pediatrics, Wertelecki, 2010

Chernobyl Deaths Top a Million Based on Real Evidence

ISIS Report 24/05/12

Medical records from contaminated areas speak for themselves; doctors, scientists and citizens bear witness to the devastating health impacts of radioactive fallout from nuclear accidents Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

fully referenced and illustrated version of this paper is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here

Please circulate widely and repost, but you must give the URL of the original and preserve all the links back to articles on our website

Official denial by nuclear lobby

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Prypiat in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, and close to the administrative border with Belarus.  A sudden power output surge prompted an attempt at emergency shutdown; but a more extreme spike in power output led to the rupture of a reactor vessel and a series of explosions. The graphite moderator was exposed, causing it to ignite, and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout over large parts of the western Soviet Union and Europe. From 1986 to 2000, 350 400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. According to official post-Soviet data, about 57 % of the fallout landed in Belarus [1]. Chernobyl is widely considered to have been the worst nuclear accident in history and one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in 2011 (see [2] Fukushima Nuclear CrisisSiS 50).

From the beginning, the official nuclear safety experts were at pains to minimise the projected health impacts, as they are doing now for the Fukushima accident.

The UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) estimated a “global collective dose” of radiation exposure from the accident “equivalent on average to 21 additional days of world exposure to natural background radiation”. Successive studies reported by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) continued to underestimate the level of exposure and to understate health impacts other than [3] “psychosocial effects, believed to be unrelated to radiation exposure” resulting from the lack of information immediately after the accident, “the stress and trauma of compulsory relocation to less contaminated areas, the breaking of social ties and the fear that radiation exposure could cause  health damage in the future.”

The number of deaths attributed to Chernobyl varies widely [1]. Thirty-one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers. An UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The Chernobyl Forum [4] founded in February 2003 at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna with representatives from IAEA and UN agencies including UNSCEAR, WHO,  the World Bank, and Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, estimates that the eventual death toll could reach 4 000 among those exposed to the highest levels of radiation (200 000 emergency workers, 115 000 evacuees and 270 000 residents of the most contaminated areas); the figure includes some 50 emergency workers who died of acute radiation syndrome, 9 children who died of thyroid cancer and an estimated total of 3950 deaths from radiation-induced cancer and leukemia. The Union of Concerned Scientists based in Washington in the United States estimates another 50 000 excess cancer cases among people living in areas outside the most contaminated, and 25 000 excess deaths. A Greenpeace report puts the figure at 200 000 or more. The Russian publication, Chernobyl, by scientists Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko, translated and published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009, concludes that among the billions of people worldwide who were exposed to radioactive contamination from the disaster, nearly a million deaths had already occurred between 1986 and 2004. Most of the deaths were in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine [5] (see Truth about ChernobylSiS 47). The report drew on thousands of published papers and internet and printed publications. Those publications and papers, written by leading Eastern authorities, were downplayed or ignored by the IAEA and UNSCEAR. These agencies minimised their estimates by several ploys including [6]:

  • Underestimating the level of radiation by averaging exposure over a large regions, such as an entire country; so high exposure doses and health statistics of the most contaminated areas are lumped together with the less and least exposed
  • Ignoring internal sources of radiation due to inhalation and ingestion of radioactive material from fallout
  • Using an obsolete and erroneous model of linear energy transfer due to external sources of ionising radiation
  • Not counting diseases and conditions other than cancers
  • Overestimating the natural background radiation; today’s ‘background’ has been greatly increased by discharges from nuclear activities including tests of nuclear weapons, use of depleted uranium, and uranium mining
  • Suppressing and withholding information from the public.

Nevertheless, the devastating health impacts did not escape the notice of the hundreds of doctors, scientists and other citizens who had to bear witness to the deformities, sicknesses and deaths of exposed babies, children and adults in their care.

Read more by clicking title or here

Children Radiation Maps from Belarus and Ukraine, children are not safe even in clean areas

This is what we should be examining now, trying to understand and verify what is happening. A good translation of studies of what has happened in Belarus and surrounding areas since Chernobyl would help bolster the case that the danger to children has gone beyond politics and has become a human rights issue. This is critical to understanding Japan's future, and how best to protect its people, just as it affects the rest of the world as we move foward into a time of nuclear accidents. We cannot privilege money and power over public health and the environment or we will lose everything.

Children Radiation Maps l Jan Hemmer Blog  14 April, 2012

On April 5th I went to BELRAD Institute ( in Belarus (got 72% of the Chernobyl fallout), with a friend and translator, to get important data about their work. Here I present with the permission of vice director Mr. Babenko of BELRAD, the Children radiation maps of Belarus (below). First, some background on the data: We see here 17 regions of Belarus:

Irradiated areas and relatively “CLEAN” areas. Children have Cesium in their bodies, no matter if they live in “clean” or irradiated areas.  This is one important fact these maps show. Why is that? The average irradiated soil in Belarus is: 1 – 40 Curie per square kilometer (= 37,000 – 1,480,000 becquerel per m²) of radionuclides,  such as Cesium 137, Strontium 90, Americium 241 and other radionuclides. It reaches also 160 Curie per km², although it is 40 on official maps, but reaches 18,500,000 becquerel per m² in some places. Here is more info: Here is a list of the radionuclides:

Caesium 137, food, children, apple pectin:

Nesterenko, founder of BELRAD: “Children receive the highest doses, because the dose coefficients, in a 3 year old child, are 5 times higher than in adults.

But the Children Radiation Maps are based uponWhole Body Counter measurments of Children, measuring Cesium 137. They are the latest maps available by Belrad. More Info:

Not even world’s biggest nuclear-reactor-children-cancer study (KIKK) counts in INTERNAL radiation: only measure EXTERNAL radiation. No known children cancer study is interested in INTERNAL emitters, although 70 – 90% of radiation comes from food today. THE WORLD HAS TO LEARN FROM BELARUS. If the focus is set only to external radiation, is seen only radiation in water and air, only milli sievert is discussed.  Clean city, irradiated food. No children cancer study I know is interested in internal emitters. We can not afford this failure a 2nd time. This is not mere methodology. This is survival.

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Nuclear Power is not the Answer