The Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster was the biggest nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl. It was the only other nuclear disaster to be given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale. Although it did not cause as many deaths as Chernobyl did, it still had a lasting effect on the wildlife surrounding the area, including both plants and animals.
Several studies have shown that the effects of the plant caused genetic damage to birds, monkeys, butterflies and other animals in the area, however it is a unique effect that the radiation had on the plant life that really got people’s attention.
Deformed Fukushima Daisies
A picture of a small patch of daisies took the Internet by storm after it was posted to Twitter by Japanese user @san_kaido. The daises have a unique, wheel-like shape, and many people, including the poster themselves, believe that it is the result of radiation runoff from the Fukushima disaster.
The user posted this picture after he discovered the daisies almost four years after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. It is hypothesized that these mutant daisies are the result of irradiated soil.
This theory is backed up by several studies conducted in Japan which found that the soil surrounding areas affected by the Fukushima disaster had the ability to retain large amounts of radiocesium, the chemical element that causes radiation. This retention is due to the fact that radiocesium is quickly dissolved by water, allowing it to travel through soil and contaminate large areas of vegetation.
With radioactive elements being found on the West Coast, many people are concerned that double-headed daisies may be a sign of radiation leaking into the U.S. Despite the many theories and fears surrounding this, several biologists claim that these mutant daisies are a regular occurrence in nature.
“It might have happened if the accident had never happened there,” Beth Krizek, a biologist at the University of South Carolina told the Huffington Post. “You would never know if it was radiation from the Fukushima disaster.”
Krizek says that this mutation is a phenomenon known as fasciation, and that it commonly happens in nature without the help of radiation. It can also be caused by hormonal changes in the plant as well as environmental factors (including radiation).
“I don’t think people should freak out,” Krizek said. “They”re not that unusual.”
Overall, opinions are mixed on whether the mutations these daisies experienced were caused by radiation or not. However, it’s safe to say that if you do happen to see a mutant daisy in your neighborhood, it’s most likely not caused by radiation from Fukushima.
For more information on radiation and the effect that it has on the human body, click here.
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