MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) – In years since 2011 Fukushima disaster, radiation has caused increased biological genetic mutation rates according to a report in the Journal of Heredity. All types of animals, from birds to butterflies have been affected, some more negatively than others.
The Journal reports that in the three years since the disaster, “low-dose-rate exposure [has led] to elevated mutation rates” in a variety of species. By analyzing 46 different studies conducted in the radiological zone, evidence was found to show “a wide range of physiological, developmental, morphological, and behavioral consequences of exposure to radioactive contaminants” Some of the affects observed include “white spots” or “partial albinos” on several bird species, decreased immunological levels, tissue damage and lowered sperm count.
The study draws heavy parallels between the Fukushima and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The Soviet disaster is the only other nuclear disaster in human history which dispersed radiation over such a large area of land, plants and animals. The Journal states that the effects seen in the animals in the Fukushima area are similar to those found near Chernobyl in the years after the disaster.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced a meltdown in March of 2011 after it was struck by a tsunami. The wave submerged the backup electrical generators and prevented the reactor from being cooled in the following days. Four of the six reactors were damaged. TEPCO, the Japanese power company, is still in the process of cleaning up and dismantling the reactor and the thousands of spent fuel rods which are still emitting radiation.