Snakes help scientists measure radioactivity in Fukushima

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It has been ten years since the destruction of the Fukushima nuclear plant, with scientists continuing to measure radioactivity in the area in a special way.

In particular, they use snakes, which can accurately check environmental pollution, as they spend a lot of time in or on the ground, traveling an average of about 65 meters a day, while living many years.

Previous research has found that the levels of radioactivity that scientists found in snakes were very close to the levels they found in the environment, which means that monitoring them will reveal the levels of radioactivity in the environment in which they live.

The team of scientists installed GPS with VHF transmitters on nine snakes, so they can understand when they are on the ground and when in trees. The nine snakes were monitored for a month as they traveled 24 kilometers southwest of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The snakes moved in a variety of areas, from trees and streams to abandoned cities and barns. The researchers took measurements from 1,717 different locations. Their detection lasted from June to August, when snakes are most active. In winter they go into hibernation, which can affect the signs of radioactivity especially if they are hidden underground.

All in all The data provide valuable insights into snake movements, behavior and the choice of environment in a radioactive landscape that will better inform us of future estimates of external exposure to radioactivity and reduce uncertainty about the Fukushima Exclusion Zone..

The results of the research show that the behavior of animals is highly dependent on exposure to radioactivity and its concentration. Studying how some animals use the radioactive environment will help us understand the environmental impact of major nuclear disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl.

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