'Mutant' daisies near Fukushima spark new radiation worries
Deformed daisies spotted near Japan's Fukushima province where a disastrous nuclear power plant meltdown took place in 2011, have sparked new worries of radiation-induced mutations. But not all experts think contamination has affected the flowers.
The city of Nasushiobara is well over 100 kilometers from Fukushima and reported levels of radiation in the area remain normal and suitable for living. However, here is a photo taken by a Japanese Twitter user @san_kaido of several flowers with obvious abnormalities.
マーガレットの帯化(那須塩原市5/26)② 右は４つの花茎が帯状に繋がったまま成長し，途中で２つに別れて２つの花がつながって咲いた。左は４つの花茎がそのまま成長して繋がって花が咲き輪の様になった。空間線量0.5μSv地点(地上高1m) pic.twitter.com/MinxdFgXBC— 三悔堂 (@san_kaido) May 27, 2015
The Fukushima Diary blog translation in English is: “The right one grew, split into two stems and had two flowers connected to each other, having four stems of flower tied in a belt-like fashion. The left one has four stems that grew to be bound to each other and has ring-shaped flowers.”
READ MORE: Scientists report genetic abnormalities in birds, insects, plants near Fukushima
Ecomodernist Mike Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute, says the flowers could be displaying a phenomenon called fasciation, which is nothing new for daisies. He presented a number of cases unconnected with the Fukushima disaster, in which unnatural-looking and twisted shapes as a result of hormonal imbalance were evident.
Although pictures of deformed ‘Fukushima vegetables’ appear over the web here and there quite regularly, botanical abnormalities happen all over the world quite often and certainly have nothing to do with the Fukushima disaster.
Nevertheless, locals in the Fukushima province have registered a number of mutations of insects and animals.
Environmentalists warn that many areas still show radiation levels 20 times exceeding the globally accepted limit.
At the moment, it’s impossible to clear the Fukushima area of radiation fallout, Mycle Schneider, independent international analyst on Energy & Nuclear Policy, told RT.
“What we can do is reduce nuclear contamination in some of the areas by washing objects with water and taking off soil,” Schneider said.
Hundreds, if not thousands of tons of radioactive water has leaked into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima NPP since the catastrophe, and the biological effects on the ocean’s ecosystem have yet to be studied.
The devastating Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Power Plant meltdown in 2011 occurred because of a 9-magnitude earthquake that shook northeastern Japan, followed by a disastrous tsunami. As a result, three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant went into meltdown.