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      Addressing ecological effects of radiation on populations and ecosystems to improve protection of the environment against radiation: Agreed statements from a Consensus Symposium


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      Journal of environmental radioactivity

      Radiation effects, Ecological risk assessment, Populations, Ecosystems, Environmental protection, Consensus development

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          This paper reports the output of a consensus symposium organized by the International Union of Radioecology in November 2015. The symposium gathered an academically diverse group of 30 scientists to consider the still debated ecological impact of radiation on populations and ecosystems. Stimulated by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters’ accidental contamination of the environment, there is increasing interest in developing environmental radiation protection frameworks. Scientific research conducted in a variety of laboratory and field settings has improved our knowledge of the effects of ionizing radiation on the environment. However, the results from such studies sometimes appear contradictory and there is disagreement about the implications for risk assessment. The Symposium discussions therefore focused on issues that might lead to different interpretations of the results, such as laboratory versus field approaches, organism versus population and ecosystemic inference strategies, dose estimation approaches and their significance under chronic exposure conditions. The participating scientists, from across the spectrum of disciplines and research areas, extending also beyond the traditional radioecology community, successfully developed a constructive spirit directed at understanding discrepancies. From the discussions, the group has derived seven consensus statements related to environmental protection against radiation, which are supplemented with some recommendations. Each of these statements is contextualized and discussed in view of contributing to the orientation and integration of future research, the results of which should yield better consensus on the ecological impact of radiation and consolidate suitable approaches for efficient radiological protection of the environment.

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          Most cited references 42

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          The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the pale grass blue butterfly

          The collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant caused a massive release of radioactive materials to the environment. A prompt and reliable system for evaluating the biological impacts of this accident on animals has not been available. Here we show that the accident caused physiological and genetic damage to the pale grass blue Zizeeria maha, a common lycaenid butterfly in Japan. We collected the first-voltine adults in the Fukushima area in May 2011, some of which showed relatively mild abnormalities. The F1 offspring from the first-voltine females showed more severe abnormalities, which were inherited by the F2 generation. Adult butterflies collected in September 2011 showed more severe abnormalities than those collected in May. Similar abnormalities were experimentally reproduced in individuals from a non-contaminated area by external and internal low-dose exposures. We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species.
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            The Mesocosm

             Eugene Odum (1984)
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              Are radiosensitivity data derived from natural field conditions consistent with data from controlled exposures? A case study of Chernobyl wildlife chronically exposed to low dose rates.

              The discrepancy between laboratory or controlled conditions ecotoxicity tests and field data on wildlife chronically exposed to ionising radiation is presented for the first time. We reviewed the available chronic radiotoxicity data acquired in contaminated fields and used a statistical methodology to support the comparison with knowledge on inter-species variation of sensitivity to controlled external γ irradiation. We focus on the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and effects data on terrestrial wildlife reported in the literature corresponding to chronic dose rate exposure situations (from background ~100 nGy/h up to ~10 mGy/h). When needed, we reconstructed the dose rate to organisms and obtained consistent unbiased data sets necessary to establish the dose rate-effect relationship for a number of different species and endpoints. Then, we compared the range of variation of radiosensitivity of species from the Chernobyl-Exclusion Zone with the statistical distribution established for terrestrial species chronically exposed to purely gamma external irradiation (or chronic Species radioSensitivity Distribution - SSD). We found that the best estimate of the median value (HDR50) of the distribution established for field conditions at Chernobyl (about 100 μGy/h) was eight times lower than the one from controlled experiments (about 850 μGy/h), suggesting that organisms in their natural environmental were more sensitive to radiation. This first comparison highlights the lack of mechanistic understanding and the potential confusion coming from sampling strategies in the field. To confirm the apparent higher sensitive of wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, we call for more a robust strategy in field, with adequate design to deal with confounding factors. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Environ Radioact
                J Environ Radioact
                Journal of environmental radioactivity
                27 July 2016
                06 April 2016
                July 2016
                07 August 2016
                : 158-159
                : 21-29
                [a ]Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), Centre of Cadarache, BP 3, 13115 St Paul-lez-Durance, Cedex, France
                [b ]International Union of Radioecology (IUR), Center of Cadarache, BP 3, 13115 St Paul-lez-Durance, Cedex, France
                [c ]Center for Environmental Radioactivity (CERAD), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, 1432 Aas, Norway
                [d ]Institut Symlog de France, 262 rue Saint-Jacques, 75005 Paris, France
                [e ]LWB Environmental Services, Inc., 1620 New London Rd., Hamilton, OH 45013, USA
                [f ]University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory & Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA
                [g ]School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
                [h ]Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
                [i ]Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), Østerås, Norway
                [j ]Université de Lyon, F-69000, Lyon, France
                [k ]Université Lyon 1, France
                [l ]CNRS, UMR5558, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, F-69622 Villeurbanne, France
                [m ]Russian Institute of Radiology and Agroecology, Obninsk, Russia
                [n ]Department of Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
                [o ]School of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
                [p ]Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan
                [q ]LK Consultancy, P.O. Box 373, Turner Valley, Alberta T0L 2A0, Canada
                [r ]Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co., (SKB), P.O. Box 250, SE-101 24 Stockholm, Sweden
                [s ]Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC, USA
                [t ]Department of Biology, Indiana University, 1001 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
                [u ]Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, P.O. Box 35, 40014 Jyvaskyla, Finland
                [v ]388 Church Street, Russell, Ontario K4R 1A8, Canada
                [w ]Ecologie Systématique Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91405 Orsay, Cedex, France
                [x ]Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
                [y ]Department of Biological Sciences, and, the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
                [z ]The BCPH Unit of Molecular Physiology, Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
                [aa ]Urals Research Center for Radiation Medicine, Vorovsky Str. 68a, 454076 Chelyabinsk, Russia
                [ab ]Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA
                [ac ]Institute of Environmental Radioactivity, Fukushima University, 1 Kanayagawa, Fukushima-shi, Fukushima 960-1296, Japan
                [ad ]Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Universitetstunet 3, 1430 Ås, Norway
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author francois.brechignac@ 123456irsn.fr (F. Bréchignac)

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).



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