By Steve Connor
The exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which was evacuated in 1986 after a devastating explosion and fire, has become a wildlife haven on a par with heavily-protected nature reserves, scientists have found.
A detailed survey of the huge forested area around the stricken plant has revealed that it is teeming with large animals such elk, roe deer, red deer, wild boar and wolves despite being contaminated with radioactive fallout
The scientists found no evidence to support earlier studies suggesting that wildlife in the region had suffered from the radiation released after the Chernobyl accident of 1986 which sent plumes of radioactive emissions across much of northern Europe, causing radiation “hotspots” within the exclusion zone.
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