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#ChernobylFrogs16 Out of the Zone

Final day inside Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, processing in the lad the 26 male treefrogs collected during the previous might on the two internal control localities (areas inside The Zone, but not affected by radioactive contamination).



It was also time for my colleagues from the Belgian Nuclear Research Center, Nele Hiremans and Robin Nauts, to pack all their Arabidopsis samples and leave during the early morning. In a week, they will be flying to Fukushima, Japan, to sample Arabidopsis also there inside the area affected by the release of nuclear products from the Fukushima-Daichii Nuclear power plant after de 2011 tsunami that affected the area. Amazing work.. and amazing people!!

Luckily today, I had the help of Sergey Gaschak to process the frogs. He has been working on the Zone since the early moments after the accident, and for about 20 years he has been conducting research on the wildlife of the Chernobyl Zone. An amazing help today, and absolutely invaluable for the field work!!

With all the frogs processed by 4PM, it was time for packing the samples I will be carrying with me to Sweden (sperm, blood smears, histological samples), and organize the rest for their trip in dry shippers to Sweden and France. Time to hope for quick custom bureaucracy and lack of problems with the shipment. Fingers crossed.

We leave the Zone, not without going through the compulsory radioactive checking at the Exclusion Zone checkpoint, both for me and the car, and for a 3 hours trip back to Kiev airport hotel (passing through crazy traffic jams at Kiev’s outskirts).

Once at the hotel, it was still time for me to fix today’s blood smears at the room. It really look weird being on the room with all the vials, slides and chemicals…

Time tomorrow to flight back to Sweden (and for a quick field trip with Faunistic students at the Uppsala University on Sunday looking at newts in old Linnaeus home downtown!!)

Total radioactivity accumulated today 2microSv, for a total during the trip of 54 microSv. Just to compare, my Belgian colleagues are allowed to have a yearly doses of 1000 microSv at year from their Research Center.

And that was all for me inside Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone and #ChernobylFrogs16 field trip!!

I will post some recap comments on the following days. Thanks a lot for following my research dispatches from the field!!