Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nuclear Butterflies

There are nuclear butterflies in Japan, and according to an August 13 ABC News report, they have been traced to the Fukishima nuclear disaster after last year's massive earthquake and resulting tsunami.
The pale grass blue butterflies have suffered both "physiological and genetic damage" due to the radioactive fallout from the Fukishima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Researchers began studying the insects just two months after the 2011 disaster.

The researchers wrote,
"At the time of the accident, the populations of this species were overwintering as larvae and were externally exposed to artificial radiation. It is possible that they ate contaminated leaves during the spring and were thus also exposed to internal radiation."
Obviously the full impact of the Japan nuclear meltdown will not be known for years if not decades. Even so, it is disheartening to see that these butterflies have suffered such damage as a result of the nuclear fallout.
The good news is that the researchers noted that the human effect of this disaster should be much less than the butterfly effect.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much of it damaged the actual genes that will be passed down? Or if the nuke caused them to be sterile? That might actually be the best outcome. The population would be devastated numbers-wise but would rebound with healthy DNA. If the nuclear fallout changed the genetic material they pass along, they may never recover fully. This is quite the legacy of mankind.