Friday, April 21, 2006

Glowing Radioecological Report from Chernobyl

The BBC News has a report about the wildlife roaming around the forbidden radioactive zone around Chernobyl. Most of the animals are thriving, although they are mildly radioactive. Probably selecting for individuals with increased DNA repair systems. I know the rates of mutation are way up, but without whole genome analysis, not sure one can tell what the rates are. Ten years ago, they said voles in the area had 1000-fold increases in mutations. The voles didn't care. They still thrived, they are just evolving at a one thousand fold greater rate. Natural selection is culling the unfit. I'm not saying that we should all be radioactive, but we are exposed to radiation every day. It's called sunlight. The fusion reactor we call the Sun emits radiation which has changed our DNA for eons. The Earth is a big nuclear reactor. How do you think the magma stays molten within the Earth? Most of the heavy radioactive elements like uranium sank to the center of the planet early in the formation of the Earth, and there was probably enough of the unstable isotopes to start a natural nuclear fission reactor within the Earth's core. The remaining heavy isotopes and lighter radioactive elements decay within the mantle and generate heat. It is claimed that no natural reactor can exist today. There's no longer enough unstable uranium in the Earth's core, mantle or crust to start any natural nuclear reactors. At one location in Gabon, Africa, 16 natural nuclear reactors once existed about 2 billion years ago. The radioactive uranium isotopes decayed below sustainable fission levels about 1-2 billion years ago.
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