Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??

with 284 comments

The abandoned town of Pripyat, the Chernobyl reactor in the background.

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible.

Aside from its novelty value, this discovery leads to some interesting speculation and potential research. Humans have melanin molecules in their skin cells, does this mean that humans are getting some of their energy from radiation? This also implies there could be organisms living in space where ionizing radiation is plentiful. I’ve always been a big panspermia proponent, the idea that life did not originate on Earth but is actually common in the cosmos. Organisms that can live in space certainly gives more credence to this idea.

Possibly this could also be used to create plants or mushrooms that could grow in space, serving as a food source for space travellers. Maybe these fungi could be modified and used somehow to clean up radiation contaminated environments. There’s quite a few of those, in fact the disposal of radioactive waste is still a huge and unsolved problem. Now the fungi couldn’t actually eat the radioactive isotopes, I’m not saying that, but if they can live in radioactive environments they might be used to somehow scour out or concentrate the radioactive isotopes in such a way as to facilitate their clean up.

Imagine, there’s fallout from a nuclear accident and what do the guys in suits do? They show up, spray mushroom spores over everything, and a few weeks later the mushrooms are harvested and disposed of while the contaminated area is now radiation free. It would certainly be useful, the picture at the top shows the still abandoned town of Priyat, Ukraine. It was built to house the workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and was evacuated within hours of the accident.

An excellent story about the Chernobyl disaster and Pripyat is at the Ghost Town link. Just be aware that, no, Elana didn’t actually ride her motorcycle through the radiation contaminated zone, that was poetic license on her part. (Motorcycle enthusiasts have motorcycled across Europe hoping to duplicate her tour, only to be told by the guards that that motorcycles are not allowed in the contaminated zone.) The pictures and descriptions are accurate though, some of the images are incredibly poignant. Just think, a whole town where the inhabitants fled without warning, leaving all of their possessions behind.

Fortunately the Chernobyl reactor was an old and unsafe design, only one other reactor in the world was built the same way. It was right here in Berkeley, a research reactor built on campus in the fifties. It was sagely decided to quietly shut it down after Chernobyl; while it couldn’t have had an accident on the scale of Chernobyl, the locals were a little concerned anyhow. In fact it was a block away from my favourite burrito place, yikes.

(The above image was released into the public domain by its author. Credit: Jason Minshull.)

Written by unitedcats

May 29, 2007 at 8:47 am

Posted in enviroment, Science

284 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I don’t recall the details, but they had biological growth in the Three Mile Island reactor after the event as well. I don’t recall anything about the gamma ray mechanism, however

    If you’d like a lay person’s guide to Chernobyl vs. western nuclear plants, see my novel “Rad Decision”. I’ve worked in the US nuclear industry over twenty years. Available free online at and also at online retailers. Stewart Brand, the noted enviornmentalist and founder of “The Whole Earth Catalog” has said: “I’d like to see ‘Rad Decision’ widely read.”

    James Aach

    May 29, 2007 at 10:08 am

    • thanks!


      November 14, 2013 at 2:13 am

      • We have studied on “Slime molds” since my youth..
        There attributes and cell structures….

        Dr. Theda

        December 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      • there is one same nuclear power plant in lithuania… with same power of megawats like in chernobyl


        December 23, 2013 at 9:06 am

    • nothing like a growth or two


      November 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    • In fact the sun is radiation, in fact, if the damage is caused by a lot of energy transformed into radiation particles in the same way it can be a source for life if life knows how to use it, it depends on measures, in fact, there are entities out there whose entire purpose is causing impact so this questions are untrascendent indeed


      December 23, 2013 at 7:32 am

      • laala says”entities out there whose entire purpose is causing impact so this questions are untrascendent indeed”
        OK laala You got me hooked , please explain this abit more, in simple terms plz,.

        Bobby Ingram

        January 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

  2. Book Mark your book. I sure will read it and gain knowledge.

    Doug your posts are always interesting.

    Quran Bible

    May 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm

  3. Speaking of good burritos is Berkeley, do you like Casa Latina?


    May 31, 2007 at 11:38 am

    • Do they do radioactive mushrooms with that?

      Alison Riley

      November 14, 2013 at 2:25 am

      • I’d never eat there. I heard their kitchen is covered in black slime.

        Paris Hilton

        December 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm

  4. s/is/in/


    May 31, 2007 at 11:39 am

  5. Never tried it, it’s not in a part of Berkeley I frequent. I like Juan’s and La Burrita. There used to be a wonderful place called the Taqueria de Berkeley, but sadly the owner went back to Mexico.


    May 31, 2007 at 11:43 am

  6. My wife says La Burrita is a place she gets lunch sometimes, and enjoys it.


    June 1, 2007 at 11:44 am

  7. Here’s a reference to some experiments: Ionizing Radiation Changes the Electronic Properties of Melanin and Enhances the Growth of Melanized Fungi (PubMedCentral). (Courtesy of Dymanic at JREF forums)

    Exposure of melanin to ionizing radiation, and possibly other forms of electromagnetic radiation, changes its electronic properties. Melanized fungal cells manifested increased growth relative to non-melanized cells after exposure to ionizing radiation, raising intriguing questions about a potential role for melanin in energy capture and utilization.

    I haven’t read the rest. I’m not a biologist.


    June 4, 2007 at 3:48 am

  8. I like how the author used fungi and bacteria interchangeably as if they were the same thing.

    chris neglia

    September 21, 2007 at 10:02 am

    • No kidding… I thought I was the only one on this thread that caught that! Cheers!


      December 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  9. In the immortal words of Bill the Cat…”Ack.” Good catch, thanks for pointing that out, now fixed. :)


    September 21, 2007 at 10:11 am

  10. Very interesting. However, I don’t envision this being used for cleanups since the organism uses the radiation passively – I.E. it doesn’t change the amount of radiation in the environment.

    I think plants would be a good analogy – they use sunlight for fuel, and although the portion of the sunlight they absorb is no longer available due to their shadow, the sun itself does not dim due to usage of this energy. I’ve seen no evidence that this organism ‘sucks’ the radiation from the source.

    It’s still a very interesting phenomenon. Thanks for posting.

    Riding Siberian

    September 21, 2007 at 10:15 am

    • You don’t need to “suck the radiation out” for it to be useful – coat radioactive material with the fungus, like a Dyson sphere. If it’s efficient enough, it’s self-regenerating shielding.

      Michael B

      November 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      • Would have to be pretty thick to be effective.

        Dale Dewar

        November 12, 2013 at 5:35 am

      • It does use radiation, but nobody says it doesn’t emit it as well. What’s the point of creating more radioactive material?


        November 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

    • it is interesting an offers a conception for future life forms should we succeed in making this earth largely toxic to current lifeforms


      November 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm

  11. I feel like I need to merge the two topics being discussed here:

    I bet those radioactive cleanup mushrooms would make a powerful veggie burrito.

    Carl Tashian

    September 21, 2007 at 10:54 am

    • I think burritos are more likely to kill you than radiation ;’)

      Jim Mooney

      November 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm

  12. ‘Now the fungi couldn’t actually eat the radioactive isotopes, I’m not saying that, but if they can live in radioactive environments they might be used to somehow scour out or concentrate the radioactive isotopes in such a way as to facilitate their clean up.’

    Did you read that part Riding Siberian???


    September 21, 2007 at 12:04 pm

  13. […] an interesting blog on reddit regarding life in highly radioactive areas (read: Chernobyl) . followed up with the reference article from science a go go (WTF?). the blog […]

    R Lee Creasy | 200709211500

    September 21, 2007 at 12:09 pm

  14. acctually she did ride her bike in, her first site many years ago i visited explained how. her father is a researcher and because of that she got the privilege to ride through because he was high enough up to request and get her permission granted. parts of chernobyl they have tours too within the dead zone they are said to be 3-4 hours and stay in the safe zones withing the dead zone, but the public doesnt just have free access to drive on in and wonder around, elena is just one of a chosen few who will ever have that opportunity, when she started her first kiddo of speed site i found it and emailed her, she answered alot of my questions i really wish i still had the print out of it, she really was incredibly well smart and very friendly.


    September 21, 2007 at 12:17 pm

  15. So the melanin we still have may be a remnant from our panspermian radiation-eating space fungus ancestor?

    stephen miller

    September 21, 2007 at 1:13 pm

  16. It should also be pointed out that although such fungus would be able to collect energy from the sun, they would not be able to use this mechanism to grow and repair damages. Terrestrial plants, for example, collect carbon from the air as well as other nutrients from the air and soil to grow and repair damage. These elements are void in the vacuum of space.


    September 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    • Space is full of organic molecules, although very sparse. It just means a very, very slow metabolism to collect them as they drift by. But they’ve revived frozen bacteria that are thousands of years old, so we know they can do the slow metabolism thing.

      Jim Mooney

      November 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  17. Hmm… I’ve seen talks similar to this before. I think the microbes I heard about, used an increased level of H3O that occurs in the presence of high radiation, and not the radioactive rays themselves. Sure they are using a novel metabolic pathway that uses the radioactive emission directly?

    Andrew Hill

    September 21, 2007 at 1:51 pm

  18. chernobyl, 20 years later: pictures, pictures, pictures (about 100) here:


    September 21, 2007 at 2:04 pm

  19. “…does this mean that humans are getting some of their energy from radiation?”

    – isn’t the Sun a form of radiation? Do we not get energy from the Sun? Vitamin K?


    September 21, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    • Vitamin D, I thought. I remember from some bio class in college that vitamin K is made in the intestine by a beneficial bacteria? something like that.

      nunya inc

      November 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      • vitamin k is not synthesized by your body… it’s only ingested through fibrous veggies like celery or cabbage.


        November 23, 2013 at 12:17 am

  20. Hmmm… the movie “the andromeda strain” had life that would grow in reaction to gamma rays.


    September 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    • ya think??

      marilyn Moon

      November 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    • yikes…that’s kinda what I was thinking too.


      November 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm

  21. Based on what I learned in my graduate nuclear & particle physics courses, and my radiation training at Los Alamos, no organism could take ionizing radiation and immediately convert it to ‘food’ – as you pointed out later in the column, the gamma rays help convert melanin to a usuable food source, as you remark later.

    The reason (by my understanding) that it couldn’t happen this way is because that radiation can’t just disappear (matter/energy can neither be created nor destroyed), but has to be converted to something. Gamma radiation is pure photons, higher energy than both UV and X-rays, and would likely knock electrons from an atom, also called beta radiation, which is less unsafe but still can be ionizing itself. That is probably the reason why they saw the chemical melanin conversion – knocking the electron(s) off means you have a total positive charge on an atom, & would allow a chemical combination that wasn’t possible before (remember the valence rules from chemistry). So I suspect that slime is itself a beta emitter, and as such it would absolutely not be safe to eat – about the worst thing you can do is to ingest a radiation source. Beta can typically be stopped by clothing or paper, or your skin, but if you put it inside your body it will start creating those free radicals and it will make you extremely sick, and quite possibly kill you.

    Someone please pipe up if I’m wrong as I haven’t looked at any of this stuff in probably at least 10 years :)

    Shannon E. Wells

    September 21, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    • I Totally agree with Your comment Since The Basic Creation of Organisms (Gamma) or other wise would not survive Therefore We might have created an energy of Similarities .,But of definite Reverse reaction for Protein Building Therefore inside any Organism would spell imminent Death.(simple Physics).

      Ezra Betancourt

      November 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  22. I just love the way you so confidently say she didn;t ride her bike through. Clearly you haven’t looked at her pictures, as her bike features in several of them, plus her night-shots are illuminated by a single headlight.

    You simply don’t understand that you can have anything you want with the right bribe. They say “No Bike!”, you say “How Much?” Then the trouble is over, and off you go, after some haggling.

    Interesting about the fungus though.

    I too believe panspermia is possible.


    September 21, 2007 at 3:44 pm

  23. Everybody knows the best burrito in Berkeley is “Gordo Taqueria” on College and Ashby.

    dan meehan

    September 21, 2007 at 5:26 pm

  24. What scientific publication can you quote as reference for this amazing discovery ?


    Why ? Because what you are saying is nonsense, and the numerous errors in your text prove it.

    But hey, it sounds like the perfect synopsis for a cheesy movie.


    September 21, 2007 at 5:30 pm

  25. I don’t see how any of this could help contain radioactive waste. Just because these spores thrive in radioactive environment doesn’t mean they physically gather the radioactive particles, they’re simply present. Even if they did gather the particles, that solves nothing. The problem is not the particles, it’s the rays. Also, the reactor at Kozloduy, Bulgaria, is of the same type as the one in Chernobyl. That’s a correction to your statement that the only other such reactor in the world was built at Berkeley.


    September 21, 2007 at 5:39 pm

  26. Well, I strive for accuracy, but this is a blog where I post daily, sometimes errors creep in. Always happy to correct them, I’m embarrassed that I mixed up fungi and bacteria, I know they aren’t the same thing, I should have caught that.

    I did research Elana’s purported journey and the consensus on the web is that she used poetic licence, none of the shots of her and her motorcycle are in clearly identifiable Chernobyl locations as I recall. I certainly could be wrong, I took the stand I took to avoid people saying “Her story is a hoax.” Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. :)

    Didn’t know that about Kozloduy, I stand corrected.

    The link to where I got this story is in the first line, this isn’t a scientific journal and I make no claims as such.

    I was not suggesting that this fungus could clean up radiation by using it, I merely meant to point out that if a fungus can survive in the presence of such radiation, maybe there might be a way to utilize such in radiation clean up. Idle speculation only, I wasn’t proposing any actual mechanism for such.

    Comments always appreciated. —Doug


    September 21, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    • Were you able to discover if the Fungi gave off oxygen(or maybe sulfur or such) as chlorophyll does when they used the radiation to produce energy?

      Bob Danforth

      November 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    • I find this and Fukushima to be interesting research fields. Unique accidents that we need to prevent from happening again, and utilizing research gains to prepare for another accident. More accidents mean common denominators and our safety crews need all the tools at their disposal.
      Clean-ups, such as Hanford, haven’t concentrated on recovery and disposal.
      Another though is to consider the fallout of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Million year half-life? These are two beautiful modern cities and radiation free.
      Have we been sold a phony bill of goods?


      November 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

  27. […] Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?? « Doug’s Darkworld (tags: darwinism engineering nature chernobyl science biology) […]

  28. “[…] the picture at the top shows the still abandoned town of Priyat, Ukraine. It was built to house the workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and was evacuated within hours of the accident.”

    If by “within hours” you mean “within 35 hours”.. it took them over a full day to start evacuating the city. Meanwhile, the population roasted.


    September 21, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    • Chernobyl happened the day before a holiday, and the Soviet government, as they did back then, refused to acknowledge there was an incident, and made the public go on with their celebrations, despite the obvious.

      Scout Luyben

      November 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      • And our government sprayed radioactive clouds over cities to see what would happen, according to the DOE.

        Jim Mooney

        November 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  29. Go rent “The Blob” (the original’s still the best).


    September 21, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    • My thought exactly. Not all black radioactive fungus is a good thing.


      November 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      • Yes and if I lived in Tokyo I’d be seriously worried about this forcing Godzilla back out to fight it.


        November 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

  30. @unitedcats
    Dude, you cannot state that a scientific discovery has been made if you cannot produce any scientific publications to prove it. It’s not serious. Plus, no organism can sustain itself in 500 times the natural gamma radiation. It’s impossible.

    The population was evacuated in 48 hours. The amount of radiation they received is comprised between 0.1 and 1 Gy, which is no way lethal nor really pathological.
    Cernobyl was a disaster, it had grave and far reaching consequences (Especially in Belarus and Ukraine), but the population of Prypiat was relatively unharmed, as incredible as it may seem.


    September 22, 2007 at 7:03 am

    • actually such an organism such as the “Black Slime” can live in something that’s 500 times the amount of gamma radiation, When Radiation altered the “Black Slime’s” composition, make-up or otherwise altered it’s abilities then feeding off radiation or converting radiation is possible. You just have to think outside of the box and consider the unkown.

      Walter Thetechguy Gates Jr.

      November 25, 2013 at 11:01 pm

  31. To those who dismissed this because Doug didn’t include a reference to the research paper immediately obvious to skimming eyes – perhaps you should have thought before protesting.

    1) The link he included to ScienceAGoGo references the research paper.
    2) A response to this blog posting in June had a link to the NIH index of the article abstract, which linked to the research paper.
    3) The topic was elsewhere in the news in May, and was covered on a variety of news sources and blogs, including Scientific American, Slashdot, Science Daily, Scientific Blogging, (OK, I’ve gotten tired of doing your bibliographic research for you).
    4) OK, I’ll repeat the link to the research paper in the Public Library Of Science journal ONE (PloS ONE):


    September 22, 2007 at 10:27 am

  32. Barrington

    September 22, 2007 at 10:44 am

  33. […] Fungus that feeds directly on radiation.  You know, like how plants feed directly on sunlight, just a different wavelength.  A wavelength that just happens to be terribly deadly to just about everything else known to man.  Beyond the basic science fact, the article is mostly conjecture and speculation, but an interesting collection of ideas nonetheless… […]

  34. Oh, sure. Fungi that eat radiation. I take it you’re not all that familiar with Russian “science”. Add in a dose of panspermia support and the credibility needle has broken off the gauge and is rattling around inside the meter.



    September 23, 2007 at 5:35 pm

  35. […] a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the […]

    Link to the original study, slightly different than the story, but the data seems right.


    September 24, 2007 at 4:38 pm

  37. […] Science A Go Go: Chernobyl Fungus Feeds on Radiation Blog: Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?? […]

    AppleGeeks 3.0

    September 25, 2007 at 12:13 pm

  38. Someone said here that the fungus wouldn’t clean up the radiation any more than a plant cleans up the sun shine.. just leaves a shadow.

    So: What happens if you grow the fungus so that it covers the whole source of radiation? It still radiates, but if the fungus absorbs the radiation it shouldn’t bother anyone.

    Lets grow giant mushrooms on nuclear waste sites!

    el Stupido

    September 26, 2007 at 12:39 am

  39. I’m curious… does the Fungi output Oxygen or conduct Oxygen rich conversion? If it does, what are the possibilities or utilizing it for terraforming needs? What a delicious development. ;-)

    Chris Giddings

    September 26, 2007 at 7:07 am

    • This is black mold . . . it is extremely toxic even when it isn’t growing in nuclear containment vessels . . .


      December 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

  40. says there were 17, and one still being build, not “only one similar, in Berkeley”


    September 26, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    • You do realize that, like this blog, many people have different opinions and have posted them on Wikipedia.

      Ben Bryant

      October 28, 2011 at 4:23 am

  41. […] clipped from […]

  42. […] Fontes: Science A gogo Wikipedia Doug´s Darkworld […]

  43. […] Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?? via Doug’s Darkworld: a collection of fungi that eat gamma rays? (tags: biology chernobyl evolution nuclear russia science panspermia research) […]

  44. all of the links from this site are blocked by the web filter installed on this machine…the government must not want me to know about the radiation slime…
    Oh and a thought – that slime would make a pretty sweet nuclear/biological weapon if it were actually served as a burrito…


    October 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm

  45. If you want to know another disaster reactor, check out Rancho Seco in Sacramento. They had a number of accidents, some of which spread radioactive material in that area. I speculate that far in the future people will think it was a really stupid idea to split the atom.


    October 19, 2007 at 7:34 am

  46. […] en blogg hittade jag en länk till en sida som publicerar artiklar om forskning. Enligt artikeln där har […]

  47. How can i take your story credibily when it is full of un-truths. To pick out a couple,- Pripyat was not ‘evacuated hours after the disaster’ think more THREE DAYS, also the Chernobyl plant was not the only plant to use ‘old and unsafe designs’ there were plenty more RBMK reactors built in the USSR.

    John Taylor

    November 23, 2007 at 6:14 pm

  48. I like how the author used fungi and bacteria interchangeably as if they were the same thing


    December 21, 2007 at 5:03 am

  49. I corrected that when it was first pointed out, it was a rather obvious mistake. You must have read it on a feed or something that never updates. —Doug


    December 21, 2007 at 8:12 am

  50. Bacteria has been found in South Africa’s deepest gold mines in new shafts. The area has not been exposed to the surface for at least 3billion yrs.
    The bottom of the food chain is a bacterium, ‘Desulfotomaculum ‘ which absorbs energy from the uranium ore in the mine and then uses the energy to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen. Other bacteria exist that live off of the the “atom eaters”

    T Hill

    February 2, 2008 at 2:57 am

  51. “Imagine, there’s fallout from a nuclear accident and what do the guys in suits do? They show up, spray mushroom spores over everything, and a few weeks later the mushrooms are harvested and disposed of while the contaminated area is now radiation free.”



    March 19, 2008 at 9:45 pm

  52. This is a good article.

    The process of collecting/mining a substance using an organism such as a plant is called Phytoremediation or phytomining

    Humans already use Ultraviolet light to convert Cholesterol in the skin to Vitamin D

    The notion of humans obtaining energy from the sun is novel but flawed, as the ionising radiation altering the Melanin would also cause mutation of the host’s DNA and therefore cancer.

    Lots and lots of cancer.


    March 19, 2008 at 9:50 pm

  53. nuclear power produces a small amount of radiation but a large amount of radioactive waste, which is released into the environment twice weekly. unfilterable gas is emitted into the air.

    this causes thousands of deaths every year. I would put a moratorium on all nuclear power in Massachusetts and on building new coal power plants if elected to the House of Representatives. I ask every state to do the same.


    March 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm

  54. Interesting article, but as Martin somewhere above said: the chernobyl reactor design isn’t quite as unusual as you try to make believe, but was the standard sowjet design for quite a time.


    March 20, 2008 at 2:47 am

  55. And to think God created all of this.


    March 20, 2008 at 3:46 am

  56. Extreme Evolution: This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using **gamma radiation** as a food source… |

    \r\nThe story is actually about burrito places in Berkeley and fungi that th

  57. This is absolutely fascinating. I think you do a good job exploring the possibilities of such a discovery. Life has been found living off sulfur vents deep in the ocean, but life that lives off radiation has much more practical application potential. Cool stuff.


    March 20, 2008 at 8:23 am

  58. You mention Panspermia,

    I’ve never got the logic behind panspermia.
    Panspermia proponents that I have talked to in person, admitatly only 1 or 2 people, always have been simpathetic to young earth creationists in their belief that the odds of life spontainously being created from nothing are slim. But how is it that some other planet is necessary to create life from nothing? What other planet, besides this one where life flourishes, would be some ideal starting planet for life? Wouldn’t the best chance for biogenisis be a planet with a flourishing ecosystem?

    Certainly if Mars was found to have fossilized life, the argument that Mars life could have been created by panspermia from Earth holds much more weight then the reverse.


    March 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    • During the time that Mars would have been habitable, the earth was not.


      November 13, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    • You must learn when to use then and than. Other errors exist. Is it so difficult to use our wonderful language correctly?


      November 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    • The ensuing years of discovery have shown millions of Earth-like planets are estimated now with ten years of new data available, and the estimation of liquid-like ‘oceans’ on many satellites and planetary bodies in the solar system added, should give credence to the possibilities for panspermia or related transfers of pre-biotic chemistry, so do you offer an adjusted view and what is the dualism of sources, if not that the Earth is a probable new source of panspermia now with the new Anthropocene time period upon us this century? We are transferring just what we describe, and debating the process of deliberate introduction of life to those locations we travel to. We are in a child-like state of science, and already are active in the game of terra-forming whether we like it or not.

      Dana Johnson

      November 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm

  59. Well, most of the liquid water on earth is thought to have cometary origin, along with other building blocks of life, which are found throughout the universe… Panspermia doesn’t mean life came from Mars or vice versa. All is full of life, perhaps.


    March 21, 2008 at 8:54 pm

  60. Great. Now, if we could spray a threatening asteroid with a fine blend of chernobyl, black slime soup, and a dash of atmosphere the surface would grow over time into a nice flat black paddock. Yarkovsky effect could then push it to a new orbit, saving Earth.


    March 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm

  61. Dan,

    You’re insane…try Monte Cristo Taqueria on University between Sacramento and Acton….oh yeah, Elena’s the shit.


    April 1, 2008 at 9:16 am

  62. it used to be taqueria morelia down
    san leandro boulevard toward the coliseum.


    April 4, 2008 at 12:13 pm

  63. Hey, sounds like this could be something useful in the near future. I wonder how it would react under different heat temperatures?


    April 7, 2008 at 8:03 pm

  64. I find it both encouraging and amazing how tenacious and unstoppable life really is. We get the idea that life is very vulnerable and easily destroyed because individual organisms are easy to kill. Just dump a little pollution into a river and something dies. Some species, like the Spotted Owl, seem so fragile that if you just look at one cross-eyed from a mile away, it will fall out of the tree dead and go extinct.

    But in the big scheme of things, life is unbelievably relentless and innovative and indestructable. All kinds of exotic species live around volcanic vents — “black smokers” — at the bottom of the ocean. Drillers have found bacteria living in rocks two miles down. Other bacteria live in the boiling pools at Yellowstone. And now we find fungi that thrive in the conditions inside a nuclear reactor. That seems fitting, somehow.

    Terrance H.

    May 12, 2008 at 11:26 pm

  65. Might I suggest doing a web search for “Paul Stamets.” He’s a legendary & very well-regarded mycologist (arguably the best in his field), who has been conducting research & experiments into using fungi to reclaim toxic waste sites, burn dumps, etc.

    Not exactly the same as rehabbing a fallout/meltdown zone, but still related. I believe he was featured at TED Talks recently…


    May 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm

  66. Very interesting, but you should sort out your facts.
    The RBMK design used in Chernobyl is still in use at several other locations in the former Soviet Union. Also, this discovery has nothing to do with cleaning nuclear waste. Although it proves that a lifeform can grow in such an environment, it by no means shows that it can actually clean it up, as this would require making the atomic nuclei more stable in order to stop their radioactive decomposition, something that it is impossible to do with chemical reactions.
    The only real possible application of mushrooms to radiation cleanup would be to grow a layer several kilometres thick to shield against the radiation, but this, of course, is ridiculous.


    September 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm

  67. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


    March 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

  68. Hello !!!! :)
    My name is Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Your Piter


    April 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  69. Completely unrelated, but as much an intrigue as this radiation stimulated fungi, is the Mars polar ‘Spider/Fan’ formations which are an expanding domain of replicating ordered formations in the far and very cold poles of Mars. Mostly in the south(colder) region, these may possibly be active and powered by the solar wind or gamma radiation from deep venting or impacts in Mars history. Mars shows high Thorium levels across the lowlands elsewhere, and therefore a source of Uranium conversion decay was underway in the early Mars geology and possible shallow ocean/seas. Whether life or minerals, the Lowlands and these Spider/Fans were active either during the placement of the Thorium in the Lowlands, or likely, even currently, during the seasonal eruptions of semi-liquids, dust, and ice which we see in MRO HiRISE images. More at:
    Possible gamma radiation sources or solar radiation powered events on Mars- life-like, or mineral/chemical activity ordering the ice cap layers? Deadly radiation there also, and a well organized display each season. Basics for fungus growth present, perhaps as well. Marscloseup , danajohnson0
    (Are the Naval shells and other nuclear weapons safer just north by river of your Bay Area location?)

    Dana Johnson

    January 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    • Sooo… just wondering…. Does this fungus take in CO2 and expel oxygen? I’m wondering what would happen if this fungus was transported to Mars? Not much probably, as I’m sure that the fungus needs water to survive, and the surface of Mars is dry or frozen.

      Scout Luyben

      November 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  70. “I find it both encouraging and amazing how tenacious and unstoppable life really is. We get the idea that life is very vulnerable and easily destroyed because individual organisms are easy to kill. Just dump a little pollution into a river and something dies. Some species, like the Spotted Owl, seem so fragile that if you just look at one cross-eyed from a mile away, it will fall out of the tree dead and go extinct. ”

    Yet we spare the forests to save these poor owls. So due to the shortage of wood and paper products, wipe your ass on a spotted owl folks!

    I wonder if this suggests it could be theoretically possible, to develop plants that can utilize dark energy like those in the reactor. Assuming that evolution takes time by itself, and creationism simply creates something from what was given, IE: we simply rush natural selection/routes of adaptation etc in a petri dish, it might be possible to grow some awesome marijuana in the dark and call it “chernobyl” that would be some wicked shi7 right there!


    February 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    • It is futile to resist. We require development, good or bad, to be judged on its application to us. Evolutlon just is, whether we are or not,


      November 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

  71. Isn’t gigantism something that is not so uncommon in trees and animals in the Pripyat radiactive red forrest?
    Does the fungi have gigantism?
    It could explain the faster growth.


    September 5, 2010 at 2:54 am

  72. Doug,

    I have just run through her posts on her trip through the exclusion zone. Look at her pictures.It is very clear,pictures and description (Inclusive of she and her bike)that she has indeed made that trip complete with a Geiger counter.

    She also mentions that her father is a nuclear physicist who himself, with his family, was able to get all to safety because unlike many who took the time to gawk, he understood exactly what was going down. She even has recent pictures of him taking readings in one of the buildings.

    But all should understand the two of them are extremely knowledgeable and the same should not be tried by others.


    Jack Jersawitz

    December 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

  73. Lemme see… new life form, grows stronger when exposed to gamma… we’ve got The Incredible Hulk here! :)


    February 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    • Exactly, when the author says “That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible.” I mean, good grief, has he never read a Hulk comic? Has he never heard of the Fantastic Four? Comics they may be but they still postulated that exposure to gamma rays, then a complete unknown, could have effects like turning people invisible (Invisible Girl) or stretchy (Mr Fantastic) or super-strong the Hulk and the Thing) or, er, flamey (The Human Torch)?

      Big Bill

      November 24, 2013 at 3:10 am

  74. Hey there. This was a really interesting read. Some people went pretty anal on it in the comments taking it a little too much at its face value rather than the entertaining ideas that you put forward. It was very interesting, too from a scientific point of view.

    Ross Cheeseright

    July 27, 2011 at 2:00 am

  75. […] Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?? В« Doug's … May 29, 2007 … The abandoned town of Pripyat, the Chernobyl reactor in the background. … The pictures and descriptions are accurate though, some of the images are incredibly poignant. … […]

  76. […] […]

    Dose light kill bacteria

    September 8, 2011 at 2:51 am

  77. So, this waas a very interesting topic and I had fun reading it, but I’m not so sure that my Biology teacher would let me use this as an article for my paper. Because of that, I have to ask: please give me some articles that are good for a biology paper.

    Ben Bryant

    October 28, 2011 at 4:36 am

  78. The RBMK reactor design the Soviets built were a common design in the USSR with units still in operation.


    March 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

  79. […] Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor …Apr 26, 2011 … The nuclear plant’s silent nerve centre and the abandoned town of Pripyat are monuments to a failed Soviet dream. […]

  80. […] ontdekte slijmlaag binnenin de tchernobyl reactor-ruimtes , bestaande uit verschillende schimmels […]

    SCHIMMELS « Tsjok's blog

    December 2, 2012 at 5:10 am

  81. Hi there, constantly i used to check web site posts here in the early hours in
    the daylight, because i enjoy to find out more and more.

    adderall abuse

    April 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

  82. […] This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible. Read More. […]

  83. Hi there I am so grateful I found your web site, I really found
    you by accident, while I was researching on Google for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a all round
    enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included
    your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more,
    Please do keep up the awesome jo.

    bing search engine

    July 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

  84. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my oldd room mate!

    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Pretty ure hhe will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    September 26, 2013 at 12:21 am

  85. […] See on […]

    • Has it been published in any peer

      Dr.Nagraj Huilgol

      November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

  86. This article is filled with run-on sentences. You really could benefit from a good editor.

    Denton Forrest

    November 12, 2013 at 6:02 am

  87. all this time I’ve been waiting for at least one super hero !

    Mick McCrohon

    November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    • True. If you smear that goo on you, you will gain the strength of – well – Goo!

      Jim Mooney

      November 15, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  88. Maybe they can turn Chernobyl into a giant Kambucha fermentation vat! pour some tea and sugar in there!


    November 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

  89. Not only can humans draw energy from the Sun, but when Angelic Humans were first seeded on the Earth 25 million years ago we were Breatharians (no need to eat). It has been through the intentional introduction of environmental and genetic distortions by intruder Fallen Angelic forces that we are now half as tall as we were, two thirds more dense, have five fingers and toes instead of six, and have lost our psychic abilities and full awareness of 12 dimensions of consciousness.(Freedom Teachings via Speaker 1 Ashayana Deane)


    November 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

  90. Thanks for the article Doug, very interesting, and lots of good informative responses as well. I was a bit disappointed, though not too surprised, that you stated at the end the Chernobyl reactor exploded because of a dangerous design. This myth has been perpetrated for many years, partly due to the West’s feelings of separation and fear of the Soviet Union in general. It was not dangerous design, but rather human error that caused the reactor to overheat and explode. The proof of this is that Reactor 3 at Chernobyl (similar design to Reactor 4) kept operating safely for many years after the accident, until 2000. Also, reactors 1 and 2 at the site kept operating safely until some years after that (2007 or 8). Also, we know exactly what happened that night, because most of the people who were in the control room survived the accident and told the whole story. You can find amazing movies about it on youtube. All nuclear reactors are inherently dangerous, Germany and Japan have the right idea in deciding to get rid of them completely in the near future.

    David M.

    November 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  91. Reblogged this on The Noah Project and commented:
    Kinda weird but cool at the same time.


    November 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm

  92. Have you ever read Naussicaä?


    November 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

  93. Only a huge idiot diggs radioactive stuf, uses it saying that’s good for humanity and than he burry it back hoping nothing bad will happen.

    Leave it there, use wind and solar power AND FUCK THIS SHIT!

    Miro, Slovenia

    November 14, 2013 at 3:18 am

  94. Reblogged this on The Stray Bulletin and commented:
    Plants 1: Humans 0

    Sophie Alal

    November 15, 2013 at 3:07 am

  95. Melanin. This means black people will be more radiation resistant when Fukushima Really hits the West Coast. The GOP sure will hate that. And aren’t there those New Agers who claim they can live on sunshine? No making fun of them anymore ;’)

    Jim Mooney

    November 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm

  96. Mushrooms also have very high levels of antioxidants and selenium, which help combat radiation exposure.

    Jim Mooney

    November 15, 2013 at 6:56 pm

  97. […] Doug Stych, “,” Blog, Doug’s Darkworld, accessed November 17, 2013; G. B. Zavilgelsky et al., “Isolation […]

  98. “No one suspected this was possible…” except Paul Staments in 2008.


    November 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

  99. Regardless of the clean-up potential or lack thereof, these humble organisms are worth closer study to learn how they thrive in a radioactive environment. I agree with an earlier commenter who said something akin to stop crying over spilled milk. We are the greedy ones who will continue to increase our energy demands if we think we can get away with it.

    Susan Livingston

    November 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    • “humble” organisms? are you kidding, or is that just how you talk? radioactive mushrooms? Just because a life form is not human, does not make it humble. In this case I think “awesome” might be a better descriptor.


      November 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      • OK. So fungi can thrive on ionizing radiation. But can they exhibit an attitude? Huh?

        And does that make them humble?

        Roy Fultun

        November 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      • woah you got a lot angrier about that than you should have.

        Jake Wells

        November 30, 2013 at 1:32 am

      • Not mush room to add anything more to these comments… IT would just be a Shitake. Radioactive organisms are fun guys to be with.
        Oh dear.


        November 30, 2013 at 2:00 am

      • Spot on Jake Wells. Too angry, indeed. Fine. The organisms aren’t humble. Who cares whether they are or aren’t? Stupid.


        December 1, 2013 at 12:13 am

    • Otra de terror, esa baba asquerosa o barro, ahora se tornará en algo más sólido y nos comerá a todos…..


      November 30, 2013 at 5:25 am

  100. Elena’s Dad is a nuclear scientist and gets permits to visit the contaminated zone and Elena gets to go with him. that’s how she gets the pictures she gets and go where she gets to go.

    Shawn Barry

    November 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm

  101. The Blob… Yeah, now all my 50s black and white nightmares can came to life. Stupid Monkeys!


    November 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

  102. “Fortunately the Chernobyl reactor was an old and unsafe design, only one other reactor in the world was built the same way. ” – Um, quite a number of reactors were built using the RBMK-1000 design, and there are still TEN such reactors in operation.

    Also, as David M. pointed out – In addition to the flawed design, there were many other contributing factors to the Chernobyl disaster that were all human ones. Chernobyl was not an accident – it was a dangerous experiment that was poorly executed and went horribly wrong. The safety measures that the reactor DID have in place didn’t fail – nearly all of them were DISABLED by the reactor operators in the sequence of events leading up to the power excursion.

    Why did they do this? They were under considerable pressure to deliver positive results from the experiment. So instead of aborting it and shutting down the reactor, they tried to restart it.

    entropy512rew Dodd

    November 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    • Entropy is both correct and succinct. Engineers actually had to work at generating the failure.


      November 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      • ha ha OMG you managed to get Obamacare in there, the US is a great country, with a few very weird anomalies, for some reason you guys allow the general public the right to own fire arms, and you don’t have any social welfare to speak of. You know that every other civilised country has health care that is free at source, but for some reason you keep believing all the greedy bread heads who have a vested interest in keeping the system you have, instead of doing what every other western country has done years ago, I just find it very strange, you need to do yourselves a favour. You have the right to bare arms, but if you get shot you don’t have the right to be admitted to hospital without running up an insane bill.

        andy macadandy

        November 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    • You mean, like Obamacare?


      November 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      • Yes, the healthcare industry had to work at generating revenue with Obamacare – it was built BY and FOR the industry.

        Thereby ruining it for everyone else.


        November 30, 2013 at 1:09 am

      • Why, Frank? Why do you just have to come in and douche up the place? Did your daddy not give you enough attention as a child? Did your mom scour your skin with Lysol to keep you healthy and you had to pull yourself up by your bootstraps before you hung yourself with them?


        November 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm

  103. The discovery is exciting but the author of this article seems to be over excited.
    The statement that “it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source” is a false statement. The fungi reportedly used gammas instead of light to prepare food from other organic molecules which they got from the surroundings rather than using gammas themselves as food source. The author’s theory that this would help to produce food stuff in space using cosmic radiations is baseless. Only that they will need gammas to grow rather than light may have some advantage for them in the space.
    Statement about cleaning up the radioactive environments by spreading spore is also baseless. The fungi did not take the radioactive substances inside them. If they really did this then they will be unfit for human consumption as the author already proposed them for human consumption in space. The melanin pigment utilized the gammas as the energy for biochemical reactions inside the cells to prepare the food molecules.
    The only things that this discovery reveals is that the life could have been present on this Earth when it was full of ionizing radiations billions of years back.

    Muhammad Sohaib

    November 25, 2013 at 1:39 am

    • I agree entirely! This author is living in La-la land here and is NOT well informed. As in this quote “a few weeks later the mushrooms are harvested and disposed of while the contaminated area is now radiation free.” He obviously does not know much about molds and fungi’s. They happen to be one of the worst allergens out there and I am one of those allergic to them. To heedlessly try experimenting with this fungi by simply removing it and dispersing it elsewhere is heedless at best. Black molds are among the most toxic there are and houses containing them, if they cannot be controlled, are CONDEMED due to the high rate of health problems which include death! I am retired from the Medical field and articles like this send shivers down my spine. Someone PLEASE protect us from such idiots who do not think about the consequences of what they are doing in their overzealous stretch to try and prove a scientific theory.

      Emerald Robertson

      November 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      • Stop complaining and get a tissue. It’s a “what if” kind of question, that for the sake of the authors string of thought here, is completely valid


        November 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    • A gamma ray interacts with a living cell in one of three ways: 1) The cell dies, 2) The cell is damaged, or 3) Nothing happens. There is no 4) The cell eats the gamma ray and looks around hungrily for more.

      Hal Jordan

      November 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      • That is why science tells us that language is only that, language, not reality. So, this article is about a NEW discovery, which could alter what you THINK happens. The description you made its only an explanation and it has no real connection with the matter, they are only words, and those words, remit to other words, constantly. So, unless you mathematically explain why this discovery is false, since you are saying that is imposible for this fugni to use gamma rays to produce a chemical reaction, please shut up, you are confusing people. What you read about gamma rays is not gamma rays, mathematical representaion of such proceses are more precise, because those symbols have only one interpretation each, as opposed to your and EVERY SINGLE comment including the article itself, which contents have various interpretation. The words ´´dies´´ ´´damaged´´´´nothing happens´´ have several interpretaion, but the mathematics behind these processes do not. So, in order to abandon fixed notions such as yours (wich is how scientist move forward), you must first learn that scientific definitions change, not because reality changes, but because the simbols that we attribute to the phenomena change. We can never describe reality, neither with words nor mathematics, but one is only a verbalization of some abstraction and the other are symbols that represent qualities and quantities with only 1 interpretation each symbol. To me, learning general semantics is very important on how to intepret words and events, and ultimately diferenciate between information and common values, wich helps not only with learning, but also with social relations, since you learn to interpret what your partner is trying to tell you, instead of jumping to an early conclusion of what you think he is said, for a fact, and make a decision based on it, and as of many of the worlds problems are addressed by people who do not understand these concepts (because of interests behind politics), I consider it the key to the wrolds problems: misinterpretation and lack of general semantics (we should learn Stuart Chase, Kenneth Burke and Alfred Korzibsky at elemenatry levels). Peace.


        December 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  104. While there may not be any other reactors with Chernobyl’s design, that does not mean that there aren’t reactors as dangerous or even more dangerous than Chernobyl. Educate yourselves. Search on Fukushima worse than Chernobyl. You will find plenty of articles that describe just how much worse this on-going international incident is, and why.

    Harvest McCampbell

    November 27, 2013 at 9:26 am

    • you know if the government would stop banning peoples designs like mine that turn things to energy out of nothing more than like say water then this would not be an issue but governments fear losing control on its people so much they want to halt progressive designs that have been proven safe cheap and effective…i hold one of the pattens they do this to btw…..if i was even to build one for my use i was told i would spend the rest of my life behind bars….all because it removes our dependence on Gas from our cars and uses water….the technology to do this has been here for years look at what the warning states on your car battery’s about spark and smoking around them….they release oxygen and hydrogen when they charge and discharge …to say we don’t have a cheap effective way of not using gas is the biggest lie there ever was cause i have had my patten for over 20 years and i still am not allowed to use it or even sale it …because they lose their grip on the Gas industry

      Grey Wolf

      November 30, 2013 at 1:50 am

      • While I value you comments, I believe that if you really have such a life changing energy, then you should give it to the people, make it public, use wiki leaks or any other public platform. In fact I would venture to say that if you do not, we should hold you responsible for the death and starvation of the billions of lives that free energy would enable us to save. And if that does cost you your live, and I seriously doubt it, then would it not make you feel good that you gave you life to give mankind free energy and saved the lives of billions, we would be forever great full. As a final offer, if this sacrifice is too much for you, please send it to me, and I will take booth the risk and credit for making this technology known, no charge.


        November 30, 2013 at 3:44 am

      • Are you referring to the work of Viktor Schauberger??

        Jeremy Fisher

        November 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    • Poor example. Fukushima’s failure, like every single other nuclear incident that has ever happened, was the fault of humans not following rules, plans, procedures. The original engineering design that was approved for construction called for the backup generators to be placed on the roof. The problem is the general contractors through their mismanagement of resources never placed them on the roof while a crane was on site, and not wanting to spend the extra money or time to bring one back just for that purpose, brought in their own engineer to modify the construction design, relocating the backup generators to remain at ground level instead. The earthquake didn’t damage Fukushima. The tsunami didn’t submerge the reactor building up to the roof. Had Fukushima been built exactly to the specifications called for by the original design engineers, there would have been no problems.

      This is a common theme in nearly all engineering disasters, that in the interest of time/money/convenience, the people building things think they know better than the people who designed them and take it upon themselves to change things. Then everyone is all surprised later when it fails. It’s very simple, especially when it comes to things like this that can pose a serious threat to life. Build the things how the engineers told you to build it, or don’t build it at all. Enough of this BS of personal agenda’s by people who don’t know what they are doing, going behind the backs of the engineers by bringing in their own people that of course blindly go along with what they want. Seriously, there should be laws about this stuff. Like only the original engineering designer is allowed to be consulted on the project; once a design is given final approval, no design changes are allowed, period, unless it’s presented by the original engineer for the purpose of correcting a potentially catastrophic design oversight; all concerns that stem purely for the sake of time/money/ease are to be dismissed without consideration.

      Of course, there were other issues too, that are also human failures, not design failure. Like routine maintenance not taking place as it should. Hey, he’s in a rush to get out of there when his shift ends, he can’t be bothered to change the batteries in the emergency equipment when it’s too close to quitting time. Just lie on the paper work and leave. Maybe get around to it the next day, if at all. It’ll be alright, what’s going to happen. Or in the case of Chernobyl, workers who won’t take a stand because they are in fear of loosing their jobs. Hey, if you’re willing to risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people just to save your own job, you don’t deserve that job!

      No, the problem isn’t the technology and engineering. The problem is people are selfish, lazy and stupid. Save time, save money, do as little work as possible and “hope” nothing goes wrong.

      Everyone from the contractors, the shady engineer they brought in a their personal yes-man to their clueless changes, the plant maintenance technicians who shrugged off doing their jobs, corporate bean counters demanding less expenditures and greater profits starting a chain of unsafe cost cutting, out of touch upper management demanding results that they want to have…All of them need to be on trial for murder. Start holding “everyone” who had a hand on the long term chain of events accountable for their actions and decisions without mercy, and things like this will happen a lot less.

      Robert Klace

      November 30, 2013 at 2:04 am

      • It seems to me, that even if it is human or engineering error, the danger remains, the radioactivity remains, the threat to human beings remain, Fukushima’s radioactive fall out remains. The North Pacific ocean still remains polluted with radioactivity which is working its way up the food chain. Infants born since the accident here in California have much higher rates of thyroid disease than those born before.

        We are not infallible. “To err is human . . .” In the case of nuclear power and our errors I personally don’t that that ” . . . to forgive is divine.” Until we become infallible perhaps nuclear power is not really the best solution for our energy greed which we lie to believe is a need.


        November 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

      • I agree about your comments of People being “selfish, lazy and stupid”, but as an engineer this too must be considered, therefor don’t build them! We all know that people are like this, so don’t build them; find another ‘Technology’ that will deliver the power we need with out the ‘RISKS’, so again engineers be responsible and DON”T BUILD THEM!


        November 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      • @ Russell. Then lets not build cars, or boats, or planes, or bridges, or buildings or anything else that involves people either. After all, how many people have died from all those things because of people being as they are? That is not an solution, it’s a cop out. Given that not all people are like that, things can be built safely. As I said, instead of not building things, just hold people accountable when their poor decisions come back to haunt them. The problem is, THAT doesn’t happen. A scapegoat is found to throw on the fire to appease everyone, everyone else washes their hands of it, and insurance covers most of the losses involved. To repeat: “Start holding “everyone” who had a hand on the long term chain of events accountable for their actions and decisions without mercy, and things like this will happen a lot less.” That is a solution.

        Robert Klace

        December 27, 2013 at 3:29 am

      • And if people understand they are going to be held accountable, everyone from the designers to the builders to the managers and workers–I think they will all think twice about getting involved with anything they perceive to risky or dangerous or litigiousness. And that, I am sure, will go a long way to making the world a safer place for all of us.


        December 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

  105. You spelled Pripyat wrong


    November 27, 2013 at 10:08 am

    • If I remember correctly, there are usually several different ways to transliterate Cyrillic characters into English. If the result mimics the Russian pronunciation, it is merely an alternate spelling. It’s the same with Arabic and many other non-Phoenecian alphabets. That’s why you will see Gadaffi, Ghaddafi, Qadaffi, Osama, Usama, and other variations.


      November 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

    • Looks right to me При́пять transliterates to Pripyat, which is how it is in the article.

      James Shields

      November 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

  106. This is very good, and the brain does emit radiation. As to acceleration of isotope disintegration, I believe The Peach Garden Fund has made great progress.

    Wu Dan

    November 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    • There are alot more Chernobyl RBMK reactors, they were the standard of soviet and Warsaw built nuclear reactors. There are still some that are in operation, GE built generation 2 reactors at Fukushima where light years ahead of the RBMK design. The RBMK doesn’t have any containment, compared to the Fukushima reactors which have the reactor in a containment vessel. This vessel adverted a larger scale disaster. The RBMK had a graphite tip on the control rods that cause power surges. It also had dead zones in the reactor that a control gauges could not monitor. You really need to do some research before you speak.

      Bob dole

      November 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      • I get you bob, but I think the Peach Garden Fund only penetrates the underlying unity – that is to accelerate isotope disintegration, since every time an isotope loses an electron it falls by half life.

        Wu Dan

        November 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      • Just for info poland have no nuclear reactor at all,just a very small research one Maria to produce isotopes ;) for medical purpose…


        November 30, 2013 at 7:13 am

  107. What……..? Nobody ever saw THE BLOB?


    November 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    • My first thought was to ask if anyone had Steve McQueen on speed-dial :P

      Steve K

      November 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    • Oh great, people getting their scientific info from fiction movies.

      Suzanne Ennazus

      November 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      • Oh come on, next you’ll be telling us that Star Trek is all made-up baloney-was. Piffle and fiddle-de-dee, I say!


        November 30, 2013 at 2:05 am

  108. This is fascinating, of course, but I think the article maybe wobbles away from some of the important parts. For one, this doesn’t suggest that fungi could be used to clean up radioactive areas – gamma radiation is given off as the result of decaying radioactive isotopes, so the fact that the fungi responds to gamma doesn’t mean that they will make the isotopes decay any faster. In other words, a fungus that could live off the gasses given off by a fizzy beer wouldn’t necessarily make the beer fizz any faster. The other point is that this doesn’t mean these fungi would survive in space! They presumably still need other conditions that support life on earth such as oxygen, water, regulated temperature etc.
    What this DOES suggest is that an organism can evolve to adapt to a new environment astonishingly quickly!

    Rol Hunter

    November 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

    • Exactly correct! Radioactive isotopes and materials have various half-lifes which corresponded to the time it takes for half the radioactive material to decay and diminish its radioactive properties. Some half-lifes are 10,000 years, or as short as seconds or milliseconds. The rate of decay cannot be “accelerated” by a fungus or anything else “eating” it.


      November 30, 2013 at 3:29 am

  109. Why the hell are you talking about? The Chernobyl reactor was only a few years old when the accident. The RBMK reactors were built all over Europe and Russia. There are also RBMK reactors that are still in use, why don’t you do some research before you write this crap. You also said this could be a food source for astronauts in space, you do realize they would be eating fungi saturated in gamma radiation that will give them acute radiation sickness right? Also you said it would be used for nuclear contamination clean up, you do realize the scale needed for that to be even somewhat effective. Then you have to deal with dangerously contaminated fungi, that gives off enough radiation of a nuclear reactor. When the emergency personel that were exposed to dangerious amounts of radiation died. Their bodies were put into lead coffins and were sodered shut because the corpse emitted dangerious amounts of radiation. You have no clue, is to be an understatement of the decade.

    Bob dole

    November 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

    • Umm…your statement about gamma radiation is decidedly naive. Gamma radiation is nothing more or less than very high frequency (or short wavelength, if you prefer) photons. When the fungi use their melanin to absorb those photons as the energy to power their biochemistry, the photons (and thus the gamma radiation) disappear. Unless the fungi re-emit high energy photons, they would be no more dangerous to eat than any other fungi–which admittedly isn’t saying much, considering how toxic some fungi are.

      The only documented case of a lead-lined coffin I can find with a quick web search is a fellow from the 1930s who drank so much radium water that his corpse was radioactive. And it’s important to note that it was the exposure to (and ingestion of) *radioisotopes* that made this necessary, not *radioactivity* as such. I could stand in a bath of gamma radiation for days and not become radioactive…although I would undoubtedly get bad burns and chromosome damage.

      But the notion of using the fungi for clean-up is indeed a questionable one at best. If they aren’t absorbing (and thus concentrating) radioisotopes, they’re ineffective for clean-up except as mild shielding. And if they *are* absorbing radioisotopes, then you still need shielding to clean *them* up, because there’s no way they’ll be absorbing all of the radiation produced.

      Rick Bagnall

      November 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      • My understanding of the cleanup idea is that — if you coat the walls with the fungi, they can grow in the obscenely radioactive environment — and while they grow, they’ll incidentally absorb radioisotopes from the environment (both the walls, and the air). Thus, when you scrape them up, you’ll end up walking away with almost as much as you would have gotten by ripping up the walls, and taking them away (which would have also required replacing those same walls).
        Remember, also, that this is a pie-in-the sky idea — not a fully fleshed engineering study.


        November 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

  110. Saw the burrito comments and had to join in XD

    Razsa'rin Dei'shurra

    November 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm

  111. From Wikipedia:
    [Piryat was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360[3] before being evacuated a few days after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster.]

    Please fix your article:
    [It was built to house the workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and was evacuated within hours of the accident.]

    That is a false statement.

    arnon shwanzinger

    November 29, 2013 at 10:40 am

  112. Looking at the photo, there are lichens, mosses, forbs and broadleaf trees that are thriving also.


    November 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

    • Probably not right inside the reactor core though, unless the top has blown off or unless it has very significant cracks, there is probably not much light in there . . . .


      November 29, 2013 at 11:22 am

  113. Paul Staments has actually already outlined a plan for cleaning up th Fukushima disaster using mushrooms. The question is, will anyone use it?


    November 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

  114. Oh, c’mon… Everyone ‘in the subject’ knows there are termophyllic bacteria that survive (and thrive) in over-heated water, under high pressure, as long is it remains liquid. As well as there are bacteria, and (in this case) – fungi that ‘tolerate’ gamma rays (in fact, they desperately need these). There’s nothing new to it. They live in reactor cooling systems, for example.


    November 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • Generally, when someone uses the words: ´´nothing´´, ´´everything´´, ´´all´´, ´´everybody´´, ´´nobody´´ or never, he is likely to be wrong. ´´There´s NOTHING´´ new to it´´ seems a bit mistaken, since there are several ´´new´´ (whatever that means in this field) characteristics to this bacteria, besides the fact that bacteria itself has been never discovered before. The process that it uses to produce its food its new, since organisms taht produce energy from gamma rays (not ´´tolerate´´, but use it as a energy source to produce the chemical reactions needed). Can you please tell me one the source and the name of the fungi (NOT BACTERIA) that desperatly need gamma rays, besides this one, as you said. Thank you, I would like just to add that in my opinion your kind of coments confuses people – and if you are ´´in the subject´´ as you say, please do not hesitate in using technical language, I am an engineer myself.


      December 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      • I meant fungi at the begining, not bacteria, and sorry for my english.


        December 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      • This article on radiotrophic fungus has some sources. If you scroll through the comments here, you will also find additional links. If the URL doesn’t come through just search on radiotrophic fungus.


        December 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      • I am neither biologist nor an engineer, and do not feel obliged to use so called ‘technical language’ (whatever that may mean). I say what i mean – the knowledge about organisms thriving in highly radioactive environment (and other extreme environments) has been aroud for decades. I’ve heard of it over 10 years ago, and it was presented to us students not as something really special, but ‘a matter of course’ information, just another aspect of life’s infinite diversity and adaptability. This particular discovery is probably not an ‘invention of a bicycle’, but it might be. Looks more like a media sensation.


        December 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

  115. Interesting news for us mycologists, check out to grow your own gourmet edible or medicinal mushrooms!


    November 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  116. Yours truly signed a petition to the Japanese Government not too long ago to permit the use of mushrooms to be used at Fukashima. It has been known for sometime certain species of shrums absorb radioactive isotopes. The doctor’s plan was to vacate the area around that nuclear plant, to layer the chips from affected trees to a depth of 2 feet, introduce mycelium, then incinerate the developed
    mushrooms and store the ash in glass containers. While one appreciates your enthusiasm, it’s reminiscence of the “columbus discovered America” story.

    J. Alex Allen

    November 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  117. I will say, many of you missed the important implications of this discovery because youre trying to discredit it with opinions that dont hold water…Even if the article doesnt demonstrate solid evidence that the fungi will fill some of it’s less believable expectations. The biggest implication is that its a starting point, the future prospects are what we should have an interest in. This is nothing like the termophyllic bacteria that live in the ocean floor vents, vkirianov…Gamma radiation is the highest you can go on the electro-magnetic scale, above x-rays – so the fact that any living organism can live in exposure to this is incredible. To help you fathom what im saying, gamma radiation is given off when a super massive black hole consumes the galaxy surrounding it, creating a quasar( what scientists refer to as the brightest explosions ever seen in the universe next to the Big Bang that started it) blasts of powerful gamma radiation stream out in the most powerful jets imaginable. Dont be so quick to discredit things that you dont understand!


    November 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

  118. “This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. ”

    OH SHI-!
    Does it turn green when you make it angry, too? >.<

    Steve K

    November 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

  119. Fukushima is much worse than Chernobyl. We are slowly being killed by the radiation because we are not being told the whole story.

    Lori Harvey

    November 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    • Environmental exaggeration is causing a lot more damage to our planet than nuclear power. Keep stoking the coal! And keep taking the pills.


      November 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    • Is Fukushima worse than the nearly 2 decades of nuclear bomb testing in the Pacific Proving Grounds from the 40s through to the 60s?


      December 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm

  120. Photo or gtfo


    November 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

  121. Um, Pripyat was NOT evacuated “within hours of the accident” — not sure at all where you’re getting that from. The people of Pripyat were not asked to evacuate until more than 24 HOURS after the initial explosion. It took two days before there was any public acknowledgement that there had been a nuclear accident. Many people suffered, and suffer to this day, with the effects of the fallout and contamination from the accident. As is the case from governments to corporations, admitting to a mistake or a problem was viewed as more harmful than the death and illness of millions of people.


    November 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

  122. Now this is BIG news, and proves that life can find a way, even like a full circle type a way, for even light itself is alive, in it’s own way , and light is energy as well, and we know light can be changed to electricity, so who knows how many other forms of energy and life, it can take part in ? I would say everything in Existence, and it may take eternity for man/woman kind to find them all. and that is science, the search for truth , key word being search…Never say it is done, and that’s what it is.

    Derek Zary

    November 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

  123. May somebody name at least one source that the author is using to get ALL of this info: gamma rays, fungi, space, chernobyl, biochemistry, etc?


    November 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    • Stan Lee: Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, etc.


      November 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  124. […] Remember Chernobyl? Some fungi have been found to be living inside the highly radioactive containment building….an…: […]

  125. Sorry, what journal was this published on?
    I’ve not seen a paper, peer review or a credible publication about these findings of a “slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered.”
    Let me know once it’s published on a scientific journal.


    November 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  126. So Melanin …. it might be thinkable so, that also for human beings radiation can be advantageous up to a certain degree. That the healthiest level of radiation is not zero, but low. That we have evolved to use background radiation in our advance. That we are worse off if we eliminate all radiation. That there is something like an ideal level of radiation. Which would explain the reputation as a radioactive spa of the beaches of Guarapi in Brazil?


    November 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    • Yes radiation is advantageous for humans to a degree. We create vitamin d by absorbing uv radiation.


      November 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  127. i just learned how to get on facebook…stumbled upon this. Its all very interesting and i love all of ur pretty squares haha! do they have a significance? i appreciate ur brilliance..carry on!


    November 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  128. Hmm. Interesting that something can survive there But survival of the fittest. And so many mutation probabilities with that radiation source so close but there isn’t really any way to clean up sites with it. All you can do is hope to contain the radiation and move is location. The radioactivity will never cease unless you have also created some sort of half life accelerator. You would basically have to bombard these particles several times to split atoms into smaller an smaller chunks until you were left with something usable but again you would still end up with all sorts of radiation from breaking apart the strong forces holding the nucleus of the atom together. I Could however see a really terrifically believable zombie creation story here though with the escape of these fungal samples and a transfer of radiation absorbing genes to commercial mushrooms which become parasitoid to the humans that eat them.


    November 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    • There had been the idea, many years ago, of using (a series of) reactors to ‘burn off’ radioisotopes which came out of the primary stream of reactors. I’ve heard very little of the idea in recent years.. I don’t know if the idea is counter-productive, or if bean-counters simply couldn’t find a way to monetize the solution.


      November 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

  129. This is alarmingly comical…. black slime and spores of mushrooms that clean radiation?! Oh – and then we put those mushrooms in our spegettie sauce, and use that slime to butter our biskets. Idiots! I am surrounded by idiots!


    November 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm

  130. This article is from 2007….would love to see if any further research/findings were done since then! ?

    And I think this is kind of scary considering the walls were covered with this slime where there were only walls…does that mean the slime grew from components in the air? Is that what could happen all over the Earth if Fukushima continues the way it is?


    November 30, 2013 at 12:52 am

  131. UM… YOU do Know ?!?!
    CANNABIS and HEMP do this normally and would have sucked all the radiation out of JAPAN ALREADY if they just planted HEMP OR / AND CANNABIS !!!!

    Robbo Da Yobbo

    November 30, 2013 at 4:05 am

    • And you would get glow in the dark joints . Very handy ,!,,,


      November 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

  132. Very interesting, thanks!

    Chris o

    November 30, 2013 at 4:26 am

  133. For those interested in the science behind some of the claims in this piece, I’ve found the paper published in 2007:

    and a Science Daily article directly quoting the researchers (Albert Einstein College of Medicine):


    November 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

  134. A great example of the scientific method at work…


    November 30, 2013 at 8:44 am

  135. My shots from Chernobyl, I visited a couple of months ago. A truly amazing place…:

    Anders Backman

    November 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

  136. This sounds like a precursor to a post apocalyptic movie. However it is certainly fascinating that fungi is actually growing!

    Michelle Randall

    November 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

  137. […] Biological discoveries are amazing, but I bet you’d never expect to find one inside the Chernobyl Reactor […]

  138. How does the fungi survive? The ionizing radiation should wreck their DNA.


    November 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

  139. “no one had even suspected that something like this was possible.” What? EXCUSE ME, Stan Lee obviously thought this was possible.


    November 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  140. “Motorcycle enthusiasts have motorcycled across Europe hoping to duplicate her tour, only to be told by the guards that that motorcycles are not allowed in the contaminated zone.”

    Dude—you got a motorcycle, just go through the woods! Only the ROAD is blocked off by guards. So just drive your motorcycle through the grass and woods, then you can drive through downtown Pripyat if you wanted and ride the Ferris wheel too, just check the Geiger Counter often and don’t touch anything.

    Matt Wilson

    November 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  141. Hey man,

    thank you for your cool article about the mushrooms. If you dont know about Paul Stamets you should look him up “6 ways mushrooms will help save the planet” or something really cool.

    I have an important addition to your article as well. It seems that there still ARE more reactors like the one in Chernobyl, and operating!

    I am from Germany and worked as a Journalist a while back and remembered that I had come across that information. I did a quick websearch (the word “baugleich” made the difference) and this turned up fast.

    There are various newspaper (big ones, not small newspapers) articles, claiming that there are between 16 and 11 of these. The word “baugleich” means “construction-identical”, or in proper English, “identical in construction”! They do NOT speak of similarities! They speak of the SAME construction.

    “Experten beklagen den Zustand der Atomruine von Tschernobyl und kritisieren, dass elf Reaktoren baugleichen Typs noch am Netz sind.”
    Translation: ” […] and experts are criticizing thate there are still eleven reactors in use, which are construction-identical to the reactor in Chernobyl.”
    Source: Handelsblatt, May, 2013


    “Fünf der zehn aktuellen Beitrittsländer betreiben Atomkraftwerke. Dabei werden vor allem die älteren sowjetischen Reaktorlinien als riskant eingestuft.Es handelt sich um die mit Tschernobyl baugleichen Blöcke in Litauen (Ignalina I und II, Typ RBMK) sowie das Modell WWER 440-230 in der Slowakei (zwei Blöcke in Bohunice).”

    Translation: “Five of the the ten countries […] are using nuclear power plants. Of those, especially the older, soviet models are considered risky. These are the two reactor blocks that were identical in production with the ones in Chernobyl, (Ignalia I and II, Type RBML), as well as the model WWER 440-230 in Slovakia (two blocks in Bohunice).”
    Source: Sueddeutsche Zeitung, date unclear

    “Besonders beunruhigend ist, dass immer noch 16 mit Tschernobyl baugleiche Reaktoren am Netz sind, einer in Litauen und 15 in Russland. Ein weiterer in Russland ist derzeit in Bau und soll mit EURATOM-Krediten fertiggestellt werden. Dies ist eindeutig vertragswidrig, da EURATOM-Kredite nur für die Erhöhung der Sicherheitsstandards von Atomreaktoren vergeben werden dürfen.”
    Translation: “It is especially alarming, that there are still 16 construction-identical reactors in use, one in Lithuania and 15 in Russia.”
    Source: Umweltinstitut München, a german Chernobyl and nuclear specialized NGO, 2005

    Links would probably make the email go to your spam-folder so you might just google parts of the quotes and the sites should come up.

    Thank you very much for your time and interest in these important international matters.



    November 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  142. Hmmm…. found some of that growing on the grout between the tiles in my daughters shower. WHAT… could the implications possibly be? (sarcasm)

    Jim Leona

    November 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

  143. Reblogged this on Malibu Healer Crestline and commented:
    Life will always find a way. Just as nearly every square inch of Earth has some form of life living on it, I believe the rest of the universe does too. And maybe in some surprising configurations.

    Malibu Healer

    November 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  144. Reblogged this on Author Sean T. Smith.


    November 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

  145. Mmmm magic mushrooms if only !


    November 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

  146. that article is from 2007


    December 1, 2013 at 12:38 am

  147. WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! (Ahem) I mean, “how fascinating.”

    Dave Kool

    December 1, 2013 at 5:34 am

  148. […] Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??. […]

  149. Ummmm does this mean that the bacteria or fungus could spead and start feeding off of our skin…like a flesh eating fungi??? It’s a bit freaky to imagine if this is possible?? Possible-not possible??

    yvonne schoff

    December 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

    • Yvonne—-no, that’s not a likely scenario at all. The fungi *contain* melanin, just like what’s found in our skin–it’s the stuff that gives us color, and reacts to sunlight by turning our skin darker (for those of you fortunate enough to tan and not just burn painfully ;). They don’t “eat” melanin, instead the melanin they possess uses gamma radiation as a food source—just like the chlorophyll in plants uses radiation from the sun as a food source.
      If it’s flesh-eating stuff you’re worried about, I’d worry a lot more about hospitals and warm fresh-water lakes and rivers than nuclear reactors—that’s where humans come into contact with most of the skin-eating baddies that we know about ;)


      December 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

  150. After meeting Paul Stamets–famous mycologist–and hearing his TED talk on 6 ways fungi can save the planet, I’m not surprised about any of this. Check out his talk.

    Sue Minger

    December 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    • @sue minger: Could you please provide a link to Paul Stamets’ TED talk? Also, I’ve read everything written in this thread and, unless I overlooked the answer, my question is: If some organism (ex, mushrooms) or some substance is found to absorb radioactive contaminates so to purify an environ, how are the now contaminated organisms and/or substances eradicated so to no longer be a bio-hazard and to not exist on the planet? Thanks.


      January 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

  151. […] Major biological discovery – inside the Chernobyl reactor […]

  152. Well no you couldn’t just throw some fungi into an infected area and expect it to be cleaned up in “2 weeks”. The gamma radiation is released by the decay of the radioactive isotopes. Just because the fungi use gamma rays as an energy source doesn’t mean they will make the radioactive material decay any faster


    December 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    • +1000 on that. This fungus has nothing to do with the cleanup operations – it just utilizes gamma rays, not the radioactive particles.


      December 2, 2013 at 8:51 am

  153. I think everyone is missing the point of this discovery including the author. That is that the fungi can break down nuclear waste which usually takes about 100,000 years to do so other wise. and with the conundrum that we are all in with the disaster in Japan and all the waste stored in the earth we may be able to have a solution here to slowly get away from nuclear power.

    Joseph Coats

    December 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    • Probably not, but could the Fungi be used as a shield / wall of sorts between the hazardous radiation and workers in suits? Maybe a robot could be sent out just like the article says and instead of collecting samples, it sprays spores all over so that these fungi can grow over everything and sort of “douse the radiation fire” a bit so that workers in suits can then come and assess / do their work in a safer environment than normally possible.


      December 2, 2013 at 12:05 am

      • Not yet . . . we don’t know that the fungi catch all the gamma rays. Just because they can use some and that they can thrive in their presence, doesn’t necessarily mean that they stop them all, or even enough of them to form any kind of a shield. And as far as exposing people too them, what we are talking about here is black mold. Black mold is highly toxic to human beings . . . probably not something most people want to voluntarily expose themselves too . . .


        December 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    • “…the fungi can break down nuclear waste…”
      In which way? It does not make waste less radioactive.


      December 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

    • Fungi cannot ‘break down’ nuclear waste, but fungi can localize it and help to extract radioactive particles, acting as a bio-filter and pump as well.


      January 6, 2014 at 2:48 am

      • I think it is a little premature to speculate on what the fungi can and can’t do. We don’t know what percent of the particles emitted are absorbed by the radioactive source are absorbed by the fungi, and we don’t know if the fungi itself becomes radioactive. However, I do hope someone will be working on answering these questions, if they aren’t already.


        January 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

  154. I’m promoting your link, I hope you don’t mind


    December 1, 2013 at 11:55 pm

  155. There are a ways to reduce the radio active waste like burning it in a thorium based reactor for example.

    No doubt there are some other biological that find radio active materials pleasant to live near just like the stuff that lives near black smokers.


    December 2, 2013 at 2:05 am

  156. There was a B movie made about this years ago, it was called the Blob.


    December 2, 2013 at 4:58 am

  157. Looks like grass and trees are growing.

    Margaret Hinch

    December 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    • The article is about what is growing inside the reactor containment vessel–in the dark and in the most highly radioactive area–and not what is growing in the town in sunlight some distance away . . .


      December 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm

  158. Interesting. I think that panspermia is possible and this discovery helps us imagine how it could happen.

    Now we are going into Sci-fi zone: “Humans have melanin molecules in their skin cells, does this mean that humans are getting some of their energy from radiation?” This reminds me of the stories of reported “sun eaters” who fast and stare at the sun for their only source of energy… Maybe they are actually harvesting gamma rays with their skin, sounds like the source of a super hero’s power! Don’t let stan lee read this article.

    Based on the comments left by scientists it is probably not effective at cleaning up radioactivity and definitely not food… still fun to imagine though. Thanks for posting this!


    December 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  159. Reblogged this on I Should Be Studying.


    December 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  160. Is the fungus from the article perhaps Nectria haematococca?


    December 3, 2013 at 5:25 am

  161. Reblogged this on Stories by Williams and commented:
    Could it be?


    December 3, 2013 at 10:49 am

  162. Not surprising considering the moss growing on the ground outside the reactor absorbs the radiation from the ground and air. No matter how you believe life on Earth started, it started in the shadow of all the radiation from the sun and other sources in the universe. Why should that life stop just because the radiation it was exposed to was put there by us? I’m sorry but we aren’t all that powerful.


    December 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm

  163. Haiku: “Robot finds black slime – feeding on radiation – inside Chernobyl”

    neil ruddy (@commandrine)

    December 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm

  164. Great info but a few of your historical facts about the reactor and Priypat aren’t accurate. Passed this on to interested friends.


    December 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  165. I can’t even get grass to grow.


    December 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

  166. This is insane….

    Matthew Colonna

    December 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

  167. After nuclear Armageddon we will be left with cockroaches and a certain Diva.

    “The Planet is FINE..the PEOPLE are Screwed!”

    George Carlin

    Elliott Bettman

    December 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  168. […] Major biological discovery inside the Chernobyl reactor. […]

  169. […] Comrade wordpressor talks about new life-form discovery in old Chernobyl reactor. […]

  170. […] (1) Now we know – The Green Slime is really black. And it’s living inside the Chernobyl reactor! […]

  171. Well, now we know what will be around after the human race destroys itself. better luck to the next creatures out of the muck (or slime)!


    December 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

  172. it is well known amongst soil scientists that fungi accumulate radioactive isotopes. Never eat mushrooms from a potentially contaminated soil….(similar ionic radius between potassium and caesium etc)

    Benjamin Warr

    December 23, 2013 at 6:36 am

  173. Reblogged this on Gireesh GV.

    Gireesh GV

    December 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

  174. mkeghosts

    December 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  175. Reblogged this on rova news and commented:
    On my 8 turned 12 hour journey back to Ontario this week, I picked up the December issue of Scientific American only to be stumped by a new disease hypothesized to travel Vancouver Island to Florida. It is an airborne yeast- the first known human fungal pathogen, and the first to become more virulent in a place where the organism was previously unknown. This tormentor is Cryptococcus gattii and is not known to survive outside of it’s native tropical environment. C. gattii is able to survive in freshwater, salt water, air, and in mud for years. I’m not trying to alarm, as a biology student I think the study of how three different strains of this organism “travel” together and infect differently. And however alarming it may be, I think it is important that reported health cases are tracked and the spread of C. gattii can be visualized and predicted, and preparatory responses be made. GIS will definitely be involved in ‘mapping’ these cases in order for this to happen effectively.

    Another interesting post is this link specifically. From a biologist perspective, radiation kills. I remember receiving irradiated radish seeds, and bacterial cultures in my first year of university and testing growth rates. But I cannot say fungi had ever been on the agenda. This article doesn’t mention a lot about the Chernobyl melanin containing fungi, but I did want to reblog this for reference purposes.

    Christie Rajtar(ova)

    December 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm

  176. The Chernobyl reactors were called RMBK and the same design was used all over the USSR, with the two most powerful 1500MW reactors built in Lithuania, and shut down in 2004 and 2009. The design itself wasn’t that unsafe, of course, it’s hard to use ‘built buy USSR’ and ‘safe’ in the same sentence, but the Chernobyl disaster was mainly a human mistake.


    December 25, 2013 at 5:04 am

    • Almost every technical disaster is mainly a human mistake or mismanagement, very rarely an inherent flaw of the system. But it happens all the time. It’s likely to be a ‘systematic mistake’. If so – it should be considered anyway. No matter how well-designed a system may be, or how elaborate the instructions are. There is always an option of something going wrong.

      If a disaster may happen (for all sorts of reasons – like meteor strike in Chelyabinsk, for instance – it’s blind luck that meteor parts did not hit the NPO ‘Mayak’ facilities, dealing with – (guess what?) – radioactive waste!) – IT WILL HAPPEN – that’s just a matter of time.

      What do we do then? If a disaster may cause long-term hazards – arctic oil spill, radioactive materials release, nasty chemicals or highly virulent viruses/bacteria release – any activity involving these possibilities should be BANNED. We may have a right (btw, quite disputable one either) to do what ever we please with our own lives, but we definitely have NO RIGHT to impose long-term hazards on future generations. Dixi.


      January 6, 2014 at 2:31 am

      • Thank you! Right to the point and very well said!


        January 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

  177. HI

    this reminds me of a Dutch movie, with Huub Stapel, why am I printing this? Anyhow, I don’t see the use in it, but it is certainly what I want to read! I was thinking.

    And we split the cells into death
    And the the rage like never had

    Not any word was broken cover
    Well spoken of, you died a lover

    For we had, the living edge design
    To settle dust, always for sublimed

    You died up will, you fought in skill
    You broke up too, cuddle shudder

    Is there nothing we can do too to well behave
    Is there waiting all to cut up with you with true

    Oh there’s no form into matter, we brought up
    That’s all what does, a feel, a touch, outdriven

    To feel the giant hive, a set up plan, forbidden
    We could not end up, we blessed it there thus

    You bet the seventh time ago, living for where
    A force you could forget, contra whispers with

    Selfish is the way we expect to die out
    The morning after, the set i without be

    A life force that could gone away, sets
    Whether the beeps are getting weirder

    The life feels which way to go, under in
    We brought nobody else, nothing for in

    Why have we bought this life if never is
    Could it ever happen, warm youth, wish


    December 25, 2013 at 5:55 am

  178. So long I have the disrespect to keep it there.

    Gracias !


    December 25, 2013 at 7:25 am

  179. Simply desire to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity in your post is just spectacular and i could assume you’re an expert on this
    subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS
    feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and
    please carry on the gratifying work.

  180. […] if true.  Fungi found growing on the walls of the highly radioactive Chernobyl reactor core might — and let’s keep that contingent “might” — actually flourish on […]

  181. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my
    own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more
    than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    March 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

  182. Wow, that’s what I was looking for, what a material!

    existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this web page.

  183. I read this article a couple years ago and again today, I still find it very interesting and I’ve done more research about this topic. As an Environmental Engineer I find the posibilities of this discovery endless, as you said, in a future after a nuclear accident or a nuclear war, we could use the spores of this fungi and maybe bacteria to decontaminate the area and make it livable again in much less time than it would take if we let it work in a natural way.
    In fact, I’ve shared this article with collegues and teachers and all of them agree that this is something big and we hope to see more advances about this.

    Jorge Martinez

    June 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: