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Although it has been two decades since the accident at the Chernobyl
nuclear power plant, the biological effects of the radiation
released are still being debated. The authors share lessons learned
about radiation effects--and about doing science under the hot
lights of international environmental politics--over the 15 years
that they have been studying how this radiation has affected the
wildlife inhabiting the evacuated zone directly around the power
plant. At one point they concluded that certain rodents suffered
significant genetic rearrangements, but more recent assessments
suggest that these animals have not experienced mutations that can
be attributed to the nuclear accident. The removal of people has
allowed the zone around the reactor to become something of an
unintended wildlife preserve.
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