Rocket News, Aug 31, 2015 (emphasis added): Radiation fears as report shows Fukushima fir trees to be growing strangely… A new report by the National Institute of Radiological Sciences now suggests that the fir trees in Fukushima may be exhibiting strange growth patterns… the fir trees in the affected area were increasingly found to be stunted and exhibiting signs of morphological change, particularly bifurcation, the splitting of a body into two parts… some of the trees in the affected areas are only branching off into two separate directions at the tip, and exhibiting lack of upward growth… Photo B shows a trunk which has entirely split into two, and photo C shows horizontal growth only, with a distinct lack of vertical growth… You can see in image C how the central, vertical branch of the tree which should be growing upward is missing entirely. The investigation was conducted in January .
Asahi, Aug 29, 2015: … many fir trees near the plant, as well as other areas, had undergone “morphological defects.”… Fir tree boles normally extend upward with two or so branches arising from them horizontally each year. But this was not the case… researchers have difficulty doing surveys in the difficult-to-return zone due to high radiation readings. “There had been so little data on such areas,” [Prof. Tomoko Nakanishi, University of Tokyo] said.
NHK, Aug 28, 2015: Abnormalities found in trees near Fukushima plant… At the request of the [Environment Ministry, NIRS] analyzed fir trees… The results show that Japanese fir populations in the area showed a significantly increased number of morphological defects, including deletions of leader shoots of the main branch axis. The study shows that 98 percent of fir trees in a 3.5-kilometer area from the damaged plant have defects… The institute says the results indicate that radioactive materials emitted after the nuclear accident may have caused such morphological abnormalities.
Mainichi, Aug 29, 2015: … the top buds of many fir trees in heavily contaminated areas were missing…. In the area with the highest radiation level… 97.6 percent of the observed fir trees did not have a top bud — without which the trees’ growth cannot continue… The researchers say that these abnormalities have increased in prevalence since 2012.
Scientific Reports, Aug 2015: We investigated the morphological changes in Japanese fir… populations near the F1NPP showed a significantly increased number of morphological defects… significant increase in deletions of the leader shoots became apparent in those that elongated after the spring of 2012… defects were characterized by irregular branching… with a distinct deletion of the leader shoot that normally elongates vertically… high frequency of defects was observed in S1 [~3.5 km from FDNPP], where 125 out of 128 trees showed branching defects of the main axis… Compared to the whorls of 2010… the frequency of deleted leader shoots was significantly increased in the whorls after 2012… The frequency peaked in the whorls of 2013… Similar structures were also observed in the winter buds of 2015… there was an inexplicable 2-year time lag between 2011, the year with the highest radiation dose in the environment, and 2013, the year with the highest frequency of defects… of several potential factors, ionizing radiation is most likely to have increased frequencies of the morphological defect.
Published: August 31st, 2015 at 3:44 pm ET
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