Health Editor’s Note: Another article about the disastrous effects of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. This article reflects damage to animals, both wild and domesticated, who were caught in the highest, although unintentional, release of radioactivity. Some animals are doing okay, such as the previously near extinct Przewalski’s horse….Carol
What We Know About the Chernobyl Animal Mutations
by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D ThoughtCo
The 1986 Chernobyl accident resulted in one of the highest unintentional releases of radioactivity in history. The graphite moderator of reactor 4 was exposed to air and ignited, shooting plumes of radioactive fallout across what is now Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and Europe. While few people live near Chernobyl now, animals living in the vicinity of the accident allow us to study the effects of radiation and gauge recovery from the disaster.
Most domestic animals have moved away from the accident, and those deformed farm animals that were born did not reproduce. After the first few years following the accident, scientists focused on studies of wild animals and pets that had been left behind, in order to learn about Chernobyl’s impact.
Although the Chernobyl accident can’t be compared to effects from a nuclear bombbecause the isotopes released by the reactor differ from those produced by a nuclear weapon, both accidents and bombs cause mutations and cancer.
It’s crucial to study the effects of the disaster to help people understand the serious and long-lasting consequences of nuclear releases. Moreover, understanding the e
Effects of Chernobyl may help humanity react to other nuclear power plant accidents.