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World & Current Events > Chernobyl & Radiation resistant babushkas

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13518 comments Maybe a myth, maybe something with a grain of truth in it, they say cockroaches are most likely to survive in case of, god forbid, nuclear war.
Hope it's never put to test, however we have some interesting examples of radiation resistant babushkas never leaving Chernobyl alienation zone and apparently feeling well:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth...
If to believe natural selection, the survivors, if they have kids, are supposed to start a radiation-proof branch of humanity.. While tourists taken for a helicopter flyover there must feel pretty nervous watching Geiger counter ...
World Health Organization on the other hand according to the article expects over 4K deaths attributable to Chernobyl disaster.
To me the babushkas exemplify how radically different a susceptibility of each individual is. One can die of bee's sting, another - survive extreme radiation.
What do you think?
And on a different note - wouldn't Chernobyl zone just be an excellent setting for some sci-fi/horror?


message 2: by Michel (last edited May 31, 2017 02:38PM) (new)

Michel Poulin Did the FSB check to see if those babushkas have not turned into secret, superhuman mutants? This sounds like a perfect storyline for the next X-Men movie. Imagine: mutant babushkas as the new secret weapons of Vladimir Putin!


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13518 comments Michel wrote: "Did the FSB check to see if those babushkas have not turned into secret, superhuman mutants? This sounds like a perfect storyline for the next X-Men movie. Imagine: mutant babushkas as the new secr..."

Would be an excellent plot with kickass nuclear heroines


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9524 comments As long as radiation does not kill you more or less immediately, and as long as you do not ingest decaying isotopes, the survivors are not super human. What the radiation does is smash polymers, including DNA and RNA. (Smashed protein is irrelevant to your long term future.) What happens with the nucleic acids depends. If they are badly smashed, the body usually just gets rid of them, but there is a danger that partially smashed strands might pick up some other bits and get to the stage that it can reproduce. At this stage it is largely luck what has happened. Now what happens depends on how well your body's defences can locate potential bad reproducing strands. If they can, they break them down, but if the reproduction gets underway, you get long term cancer growth. There will be a possible genetic bias favouring some, but it is not something you would want to test repeatedly. If they ingest certain isotopes, such as 90Sr, the radiation from within will have a very high probability of generating a cancer in the long term, unless the initial ingestion is by mouth, in which case certain food (e.g. alginate bearing seaweed) will save the day.

Breeding such a race is a bad idea because the ovaries can't repair such damage, and offspring could be anything.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13518 comments Ian wrote: "Breeding such a race is a bad idea because the ovaries can't repair such damage, and offspring could be anything..."

Yeah, it's something that was brought on them...
The 30 or so sq.km area around Chernobyl was evacuated, except for not many that just stayed and chose not to move...


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13518 comments Now that Chernobyl series has finished its global march, maybe we'll hear additional input from those who watched


message 7: by J. (last edited Nov 17, 2019 11:31AM) (new)

J. Gowin | 2920 comments Nik wrote: "Now that Chernobyl series has finished its global march, maybe we'll hear additional input from those who watched"

It had some serious errors, but I think that it got most of the technical points right.

I'm curious about one area that is often glossed over. Has anyone made a full impact study for Kiev? The accident must have dropped significant amounts of radioactive fallout on Kiev and it's water supply. The exposure that locals experienced would also have been increased by their participation in May Day events during the accident. I would expect heightened levels of certain cancers in the population, but I haven't been able to find good studies on the matter.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9524 comments Nik wrote: "Now that Chernobyl series has finished its global march, maybe we'll hear additional input from those who watched"

I think the most interesting thing to come out of the program was the danger of putting senior people in charge of something like that when they have no idea what they are really doing. The second lesson was not really portrayed as strongly as it might have been, but there are ways of getting things done, and embarrassing people more senior who are not going to be moved is probably not one of them.

As for Kiev and its water supply, did they chlorinate and treat with lime? If they did, once the Cs and I had died down (a few weeks or so for the "hot isotopes") most of the rest should be either not very active or precipitated with the lime. The iodine is probably the most hazardous in water because it concentrates in the thyroid, so checking for thyroid cancer might help answer J's question.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13518 comments Lucky for Kiev and less lucky for areas north of Chernobyl, the wind during the first days after the accident blew from south to north, thus Belarus and northern areas absorbed much more radiation fallout than Kiev(Kyiv) and southern areas in general.
They offer some data here, don't know how accurate it is: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effec...
An owner of one of private cancer clinics in Kiev once told me something about Chernobyl effects they observed, but I don't remember the details -:( Gotta ask him again, if an opportunity arises


message 10: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) I assume the babushkas got away with minimum damage because of their age. Cancers are more common in older people but develop less rapidly, so it might be difficult to distinguish any rise in the cancer rate. And any post-menopausal woman doesn't have to worry about effects on her offspring.

Also, that generation in Ukraine and Belarus had to be bloody tough to survive that long anyway, given the hardships of their youth.


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