Animals Near Failed Reactors Spreading Radiation?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Resist, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Resist macrumors 68030

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    #1
    I have never heard this brought up when a Nuclear reactor disaster happens, so I will ask it here. With the fear of radiation spreading due to a failed reactor, wouldn't animals spread the radiation? It's kind of hard to keep birds out of the area, especially near old disasters like 3 mile island and Chernobyl. Not to mention deer, foxes, game birds and other smaller animals like rodents and insects. Seems to me then these animals could come in contact with human populations or even be eaten by us and thus spreading the radiation to more populated areas.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    For reference, make a little visit to Richland, in the eastern Washington state desert. There, you might find a variety of interesting species roaming Hanford Reach. And better still, they have never even had an accident there.
     
  3. Resist, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    I had been a fan of Nuclear power, until the Japan disaster.
     
  4. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    Yeah, it's probably not a good idea to eat any wild animals or insects near Fukushima. Milk from cows in that area has already been restricted due to contamination and they're asking farmers to keep the cows inside barns. They'll be testing agricultural and seafood.
     
  5. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #5
    For reference, Japan's Reactors did survive a 9.0 earthquake. I just don't think planners had in mind the Tsunami that came after it.

    Still, not having a massive Chernobyl style meltdown after two calamities in a row speaks volumes of how well made and designed these places were. True the reactors are now leaking, but not as badly as the magnitude of the disaster called for.
     
  6. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Keeping this thread on track, my question is how do they keep animals from these disasters from spreading the leaking radiation?

    They go to great lengths to quarantine people when exposed, so they don't spread the radiation. But nobody ever talks about the animals that make there way into these areas and then roam into populated places. The exposure damage a flock of migrating birds could cause is mind blowing.
     
  7. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    You'd have to be fairly close to them for more than a brief encounter and the radiation dissipates after awhile. Not only that, they'd have to get fairly large doses in the first place to emit much radiation.
     
  8. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    Quarantine no. That's the best way to get exposure to those clean animals. I'd say check per farm and separate the good from bad.

    As per wild life which is beyond a degree of control, not much you can do. Except try to capture as much as the exposed and radiated animals as possible.
     
  9. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    I'm talking about the animals getting large dose exposures, like around the Japanese reactors. Birds get exposed then fly away and settle in populated areas. It was my understanding the this much radiation takes hundreds of years to dissipate. So if we assume the birds in my example don't get eaten by other animals (or be eaten by humans), if any exposed animals died they would still be radioactive and a health hazard to people coming across their bodies.

    And what of the radiation the Japanese plants are pouring into the ocean, which can expose ocean life, that people might eat later in other countries?
     
  10. Sydde macrumors 68020

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    I think the real concern would be not so much the animals themselves. For an animal to represent a real exposure risk, it would probably have to be so "hot" that it would not live very long at all, nor would anything that were to eat it. It is about the contaminated material they might pick up and carry away from Fukushima. Each creature just has to bring us a very small amount, enough of them in concert, over time, could in theory make our cities, or parts of the, uninhabitable. Not sure what we could do to prevent it.
     
  11. Rt&Dzine, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    I usually try to avoid dead, wild animals as a matter of course.

    The radiation in the water is of concern to fish and seaweed nearby. They're already assuming seafood consumption will go down in Japan and imported meats will go up.

    @Sydde, I didn't think about them carrying and distributing contaminated materials. Something to consider. It's a messy situation.
     
  12. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    I disagree. They could have an exposure not enough to cause immediate death, but would cause a serious long term health threat to humans they contact. This is just like what happened to the people working around their reactors trying to stop the meltdown. These people will be kept away from unexposed others, due to their exposure.

    If we have concern over a radioactive cloud, seems like a radioactive animal would be just as much a concern.
     
  13. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    My thought is that these sea creatures are not limited to staying near Japan. They could migrate and be eaten in another part of the world or expose other sea creatures during their travels.

    Considering anything near radiation also becomes contaminated, seems to me an animal spread of it would be a huge concern.
     
  14. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #14
    I think you are confusing being radiated with giving off radiation.

    Exterior radioactive material washes off, but the damage to the organism has already occured.

    Watch Dr. No. ;)
     
  15. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #15
    Unless you ingest an organism (or its byproducts) that has itself ingested/inhaled a radioactive substance, or pet a cute bunny covered with radioactive dust, your risk is minimal.

    Commercially irradiated food (to kill harmful bacteria and extend shelf life) is not radioactive and is not harmful to humans.

    Irradiated does not equal radioactive.

    As for the plant, an historic earthquake alone was not the cause of the failure, it was the tsunami afterwards that knocked out the backup diesel power-generating ability, leading to inability to cool the cores during shut down.
     
  16. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #16
    radiation is not like a virus, it's not infective and the signal gets diluted at each passage through a host.

    yes, there will be some radiation passed through animal that ate radioactive material or that flew/swam/walked/crawled through contaminated areas, but the damage would mostly be to said animals, not whatever later comes in contact with it.
    that said, eating produce or animal from that area is certainly a bad idea.
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

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    #17

    Exactly. The OP seems to misunderstand cause and effect. All one needs to do is take a look at Chernobyl and one can see that wild animals have not had a negative impact on surrounding areas. In fact, the no go zone around Chernobyl has ended up being somewhat of a refuge for endangered species.
     
  18. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #18
    yet it needs to be said that the radioactive fallout from 1986 still has an health impact: in austria and germany health organizations still advise pregnant women and children to keep consumption of hunted game animals and eatable funghi within certain limits
    especially with bigger game animals the meat can exceed legal limits
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    No-go zones in general seem to be very beneficial for flora and fauna: the area to each side of the old Warsaw Pact borders is a whole ecosystem unto itself.
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #20
    And so it will be, when Mankind is but a faded, ugly memory. ;)
     

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