The uncertainty of science: Despite fears that the radioactivity released from the Fukushima nuclear accident would make life difficult if not impossible within the 80-mile radius exclusion zone surrounding the reactor, animals are thriving there, in large unexpected numbers.
Now, nearly a decade after the nuclear accident, the wildlife populations appear to be thriving. Animals are most abundant in areas still devoid of humans, with more than 20 species captured in the UGA’s camera study.
Particular species that often find themselves in conflict with humans, especially Fukushima’s wild boar, were most often photographed in human-evacuated areas. Without the threat of humankind, wildlife is flourishing. In the years since the nuclear accident, Japan’s wild boar seems to have taken over abandoned farmland — even moving into abandoned homes. The government hired boar hunters to cull the population prior to re-opening parts of the original exclusion zone in 2017.
This phenomenon has happened before. Life inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine became an accidental wildlife preserve after humans left following the nuclear disaster there in April 1986. [emphasis mine]
This story, and that of Chernobyl, does not prove that radioactivity is harmless. Not at all. What it shows is that we know diddly-squat about its effects on life. For example, one study has shown changes in the weight and size of one species of monkey at Fukushima has shrunk, but have flourished nonetheless.