Fact Sheets

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: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X12002324

Health Risks of Nuclear Power

Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen l Ceedata    22 November 2010    


This study starts with a physical assessment of the quantities of the radioactivity being generated and mobilized by the entire system of related industrial processes making civilian nuclear power possible. It assesses the actual and potential exposure of the public to natural and human-made nuclear radioactivity, and it discusses empirical evidence of harmful health effects of these exposures. The biomedical effects of radionuclides in the human body are briefly discussed.

Furthermore this study analyses the mechanisms which may cause the uncontrolled spread of very large amounts of radioactivity into the environment. The study explains some consequences of a basic law of nature (Second Law) for the health risks of nuclear power now and in the future. Misconceptions, uncertainties and unknowns of the nuclear safety issue are addressed. Risk enhancing factors are discussed, along with the consequences of the present economic paradigm for the health risks of nuclear power at this moment and in the future.

Full report

Disproportionate Harm: Women and Children are more Vulnerable.

The Helen Caldicott Foundation: Disproportionate Harm, Initial Talking Points

There has been a lot of discussion about the spent fuel at Fukushima, especially now - about the reactor #4 spent fuel pool. The harm this could cause should it collapse is incalculable. But, the truth is we are getting sick and dying from radiation exposure already, and it is happening in disproportionate numbers. We need to keep referencing that this is happening now in Japan, and everywhere around the world. We are asking for your help in making this widely known. Please join us!

Disproportionate Harm: Women and Children are more Vulnerable.

This year the Helen Caldicott Foundation in partnership with NIRS, and all other groups who want to join us (national and international), will embark on the start of a major education to action campaign on the effects of radiation exposure on the health of all people. But, its particular focus will be the disproportionate risk radiation exposure poses to women and children. Buried in the literature to date is the fact that men are more resistant to radiation. The safety standards, which time has shown protect no one, were designed at the time of the Manhattan Project to protect young, healthy, western, men. Presumably, military men expected to accept a certain degree of risk in exchange for protecting their country.

Insufficient as it is, even the National Academy of Sciences BEIR V11 Report, widely accepted as the industry standard, clearly states:

  1. There is no safe dose of ionizing radiation. Any exposure can trigger cancer.
  2. Although the reasons are not yet clearly understood, women and children are 
significantly more vulnerable.
  3. Women are 40-60% more likely to get cancer than men, given the same exposure. 
They are about 50% (half again) more likely to acquire a fatal cancer from this exposure. This means that for every two men who die of radiation related cancer, three women will die given a similar exposure.

Children between the ages of 0-5 are more vulnerable than all adults, both men and women. But what is almost never discussed, also from the BEIR V11 Report, is that in this age group little girls are twice as vulnerable as boys. This means that for every boy, there will be two girls who will acquire a fatal or non-fatal cancer...

Indian Point Fact Sheet

Indian Point Fact Sheet June 18, 2010        Electricity Production The Indian Point reactors produce about 2,000 megawatts of electricity. The New York City/Westchester grid uses 9,000 to 13,000 megawatts daily, depending on the temperature...

Down The Yellowcake Road: The Front End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Interactive Graphic How to Use the Graphic Navigation to information about various steps of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle can be accomplished by 'clicking' on the part of the image representing the phase that you want to know more abo...


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Nuclear Power is not the Answer