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Keywords:

  • Radionuclides;
  • Chernobyl;
  • Wildlife;
  • Radiation protection;
  • Chronic exposure;
  • Effects

Abstract

The recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan have raised questions over the effects of radiation in the environment. This article considers what we have learned about the radiological consequences for the environment from the Chernobyl accident, Ukraine, in April 1986. The literature offers mixed opinions of the long-term impacts on wildlife close to the Chernobyl plant, with some articles reporting significant effects at very low dose rates (below natural background dose rate levels in, for example, the United Kingdom). The lack of agreement highlights the need for further research to establish whether current radiological protection criteria for wildlife are adequate (and to determine if there are any implications for human radiological protection). Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:371–373. © 2011 SETAC