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How Plants Survived Chernobyl

By Stephanie Pappas ScienceNOW Daily News 15 May 2009 You might expect the scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster to be a barren wasteland. But trees, bushes, and vines overtake abandoned streets surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power facility in the Ukraine. Now, researchers say they've discovered changes in the proteins of soybeans grown near Chernobyl that could explain how plants survive despite chronic radiation exposure. The findings could one day help researchers engineer radiation-resistant crops.

Soybeans Grow Where Nuclear Waste Glows

Soy crops are so tough they can flourish in the contaminated soil around Chernobyl and produce healthy offspring. If scientists can understand how plants survive in ultra-hostile environments, it will help them engineer super hearty plants to withstand drought conditions or grow on marginal cropland. “The fact that plants were able to adapt to the area of the world’s largest nuclear accident, is very encouraging,” says Martin Hajduch, a plant biotechnology expert at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and coauthor of the study in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Chernobyl Radiation Still Harming Animals

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News The Chernobyl disaster, a nuclear reactor explosion and subsequent fire on April 26, 1986, which spewed highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere, continues to harm animal populations in the Ukraine, according to a new study.

Chernobyl 'not a wildlife haven'

The idea that the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has created a wildlife haven is not scientifically justified, a study says.

Recent studies said rare species had thrived despite raised radiation levels as a result of no human activity.

But scientists who assessed the 1986 disaster's impact on birds said the ecological effects were "considerably greater than previously assumed".

The findings appear in the Royal Society's journal, Biology Letters.

In April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

For Chernobyl birds, color is a curse

Gaudier species seem to be more affected by radioactive fallout. Scientists say that's because they have fewer antioxidants to spare.

Radioactive fallout near the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in northern Ukraine has reduced populations of brightly colored birds more than those of their drab cousins, scientists reported this week.

Growing those vividly colored feathers uses up a lot of antioxidants, which are also needed to fight radiation damage.

Contaminated zone near Chernobyl nuclear plant becomes wildlife haven

DOUGLAS BIRCH Associated Press Writer PARISHEV, Ukraine

Two decades after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sent clouds of radioactive particles drifting over the fields near her home, Maria Urupa says the wilderness is encroaching. Packs of wolves have eaten two of her dogs, the 73-year-old says, and wild boar trample through her cornfield. And she says fox, rabbits and snakes infest the meadows near her tumbledown cottage.

Chernobyl Zone to Become Park

The deputies at Zhytomir oblast council initiate to create a national natural park in the Chernobyl zone, informed press-service of Zhytomir oblast council.

Zhytomir oblast state administration made a proposal to create a local landscape reserve “Drevlyanskiy” with a total square 40,000 ha in order to preserve variety and beauty of nature in the Chernobyl zone, particularly, in Narodichy district Zhytomir oblast.