Radiation levels in Fukushima are monitored with snakes

Radiation levels in Fukushima are monitored with snakes
Radiation levels in Fukushima are monitored with snakes
9 September 2021, 13:44SciencePhoto: Wired
Scientists installed dosimeters and GPS trackers on the bodies of red-tailed coppers and released them in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant.

Ten years ago, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. The result was a radiation accident of the maximum, 7th, level, worse than which was only Chernobyl. Many of the 15,000 people who fled the disaster area then returned later. However, an area of 400 square kilometers at the epicenter of the disaster is still considered uninhabitable.

The long-term effects of radiation exposure in Fukushima are still unknown. One of the ways local scientists are now trying to track the situation is monitoring radioactive activity using snakes, according to The Guardian. Scientists caught dozens of reptiles, mostly red-tailed coppers, in the epicenter area, and attached dosimeters and GPS trackers to their bodies with tape and superglue, and then released them. Thanks to this, researchers were able to control the level of radiation in snakes, depending on their location, primarily radiocaesium 134 and 137, which tends to bind to the soil and accumulate in muscle tissue. It turned out that inside the exclusion zone of Fukushima, where it is not recommended for people to be, the level of radiocaesium in snakes is 22 times higher than outside.

However, the radioactive contamination of Fukushima is now much lower than immediately after the accident, due to the natural decay of pollutants over time. It was also found that pollution varies greatly in different areas, even located close to each other, that is, radiation in the affected areas accumulated evenly.

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