[ RadSafe ] Mutant butterflies a result of Fukushima nucleardisaster, researchers say (Posted on CNN News)
Brennan, Mike (DOH)
Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Fri Aug 17 18:27:57 CDT 2012
I expect the wildlife in the area around Fukushima will become more
evident over the next several years, as will increasing populations of
feral pet and livestock animals.
The REALLY impressive change will come in the marine environment.
Several years of nobody harvesting anything will mean that miles of
coast and adjacent waters will be more productive of sea life than they
have been in historical times. This will be hard for the antis to
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Karen Street
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2012 3:41 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Mutant butterflies a result of Fukushima
nucleardisaster, researchers say (Posted on CNN News)
The nuclear industry blog says this at
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Why We Need to Keep a Level Head About the Nuclear Butterflies from
Over the last few days, we've seen thousands of stories around the Web
concerning a study that concluded that radiation released into the
atmosphere from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power had caused mutations
in the local population of butterflies. At the same time, another piece
of research noted that there hasn't been any observable effect thus far
When I read the story, I do what I always do, and shot off a note to
Ralph Andersen, NEI's chief health physicist. Here's what he had to say
about the study:
Please note that there are species of plants, insects and animals that
are particularly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions,
including radiation. The pale grass butterfly is among the most
sensitive, which is why it was selected for study following the accident
at Fukushima Daiichi.
This article provides a rational perspective on what has been found,
what it may mean, and what it doesn't necessarily mean.
Similar findings in some species of biota were detected around Chernobyl
in the first few years after the accident there, but impacts on the
overall environment and ecology were relatively small and the area today
is considered by scientists to be verdant and robust in regard to plant
and animal life.
Fukushima Daiichi represents a major accident with significant
radiological releases and there are and will be discernible consequences
for some years to come. Our emphasis here is on taking actions to
prevent such an event in the US and globally.
In regard to understanding the consequences there, we remain open-minded
and objective, gaining (and sharing) a fact-based perspective on what it
is and what it isn't.
Good advice, and just the sort of guidance we ought to be paying
attention to when we read headlines in the media. In the meantime, some
nuclear bloggers have taken a closer look and have shared some similar
thoughts. Please visit Atomic Insights and Nuclear Diner for more. Also,
be sure to check in with the conversation on Reddit.
> They haven't.
> This is the first response I've seen, and it comes from the
> pro-nuclear community.
> Some other comments from me: The article is not in Nature Aug 9, but
> in something called Nature Scientific Reports,
> http://www.nature.com/srep/index.html There is peer review, but it is
> lesser http://www.nature.com/srep/about/index.html
> What comes to my mind immediately is 500 variables and they only check
> one? Also, much of the life sciences suffers from the fact that very
> few people are interested in a number of topics, and for those topics,
> there are few eyes. In contrast, people in physics are very interested
> in certain numbers (did anyone check the charge on an electron?),
> ditto for molecular biology (are we pretty sure about DNA?), and
> climate change (did anyone check that the thermometers work?)
> Also, I react to the charge that transgenic crops are an environmental
change butterflies can detect-if this is true, there is some particular
characteristic that the butterflies are detecting, not that the crops
>> Without having read the full paper, how have the researchers
>> accounted for the chemical contamination of the devastation due to
>> - - RPB
>> Robert Bradley, Health Canada, retired
>> On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 6:38 PM, Perle, Sandy <sperle at mirion.com>
>>> In the first sign that the Fukushima nuclear disaster may be
>>> changing life around it, scientists say they've found mutant
>>> Some of the butterflies had abnormalities in their legs, antennae,
>>> and abdomens, and dents in their eyes, according to the study
>>> published in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the team
>>> behind Nature.<
>>> > Researchers also found that some affected butterflies had broken
>>> or wrinkled wings, changes in wing size, color pattern changes, and
>>> spots disappearing or increasing on the butterflies.
>>> The study began two months after an earthquake and tsunami
>>> devastated swaths of northeastern Japan in March 2011, triggering a
>>> The Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of
>>> thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst
>>> nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
>>> In May 2011, researchers collected more than 100 pale grass blue
>>> butterflies in and around the Fukushima prefecture and found that
>>> 12% of them had abnormalities or mutations. When those butterflies
>>> mated, the rate of mutations in the offspring rose to 18%, according
>>> to the study, which added that some died before reaching adulthood.
>>> When the offspring mated with healthy butterflies that weren't
>>> affected by the nuclear crisis, the abnormality rate rose to 34%,
>>> indicating that the mutations were being passed on through genes to
>>> offspring at high rates even when one of the parent butterflies was
>>> The scientists wanted to find out how things stood after a longer
>>> amount of time and again collected more than 200 butterflies last
>>> Twenty-eight percent of the butterflies showed abnormalities, but
>>> the rate of mutated offspring jumped to 52%, according to
>>> researchers. The study indicated that second-generation butterflies,
>>> the ones collected in September, likely saw higher numbers of
>>> mutations because they were exposed to the radiation either as
>>> larvae or earlier than adult butterflies first collected.
>>> To make sure that the nuclear disaster was in fact the cause of the
>>> mutations, researchers collected butterflies that had not been
>>> affected by radiation and gave them low-dose exposures of radiation
>>> and found similar results.
>>> "We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima
>>> Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this
>>> species," the study said.
>>> The results of the study bring up concerns about the larger impact
>>> of the Fukushima disaster and the impact it will have on the
>>> ecosystem in Japan and nearby areas, as well as what we can learn
for future nuclear disasters.
>>> "Our results are consistent with the previous field studies that
>>> showed that butterfly populations are highly sensitive to artificial
>>> radionuclide contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima," the study
>>> said. "Together, the present study indicates that the pale grass
>>> blue butterfly is probably one of the best indicator species for
radionuclide contamination in Japan."
>>> One of the researchers, Joji Otaki, an associate professor at the
>>> University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, told reporters that while
>>> butterflies may be the best indicator, the study should also lead to
>>> more research on what else may be affected by the radiation.
>>> "Sensitivity (to irradiation) varies between species, so research
>>> should be conducted on other animals," Otaki told the Japan Times.<
>>> Otaki said while there is still plenty of research to be done on
>>> radiation, there shouldn't be large-scale concern about this kind of
>>> mutation in humans.
>>> "Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be
>>> far more resistant" to radiation, he told the newspaper.
>>> Sander C. Perle
>>> Mirion Technologies
>>> Dosimetry Services Division
>>> 2652 McGaw Avenue
>>> Irvine, CA 92614
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