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Facts:

Severe environmental impacts were short term

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  • Lethal doses of radiation were received by some animals and plants, especially coniferous trees and some small mammals, living within 10 km of the reactor site in the first few weeks after the accident. Because of rapid radioactive decay, however, dose rates around the plant had already declined by a factor of 100 by the Autumn of 1986. Moreover, the natural environment in even these localities had begun to recover visibly by 1989, and no sustained impacts on populations or ecosystems have been observed. A farm in the village of Opachichi, within the exclusion zone

  • Direct radiation injury to plants and animals was reported only in local areas within the 30-km exclusion zone. In some cases, chronic dose rates may have reduced the fertility of some animal species inside the zone. But in most instances, long-term effects on plants or animals could not be demonstrated.

  • There have been some reports of birth defects among farm animals; but other evidence supports general recovery from radiation damage. The possibility of long term genetic effects remains to be studied.
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