Chernobyl ecosystems ‘remarkably healthy’

Michael Hopkin in Nature:

NuclearChernobyl’s ecosystems seem to be bouncing back, 19 years after the region was blasted with radiation from the ill-fated reactor. Researchers who have surveyed the land around the old nuclear power plant in present-day Ukraine say that biodiversity is actually higher than before the disaster.

Some 100 species on the IUCN Red List of threatened species are now found in the evacuated zone, which covers more than 4,000 square kilometres in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, says Viktor Dolin, who studies the environmental effects of radioactivity at the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kiev. Around 40 of these, including some species of bear and wolf, were not seen there before the accident.

If animals at the top of the food chain are present, then the plants and animals they eat must also be thriving…

More here.