Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Impact of environmental radiation on the health and reproductive status of fish from Chernobyl



Dmitri Gudkov

Liubov Nagorskaya

Alexander Kaglyan

Viktor Rizewski

Andrey Leshchenko

Associate Professor

Adil Bakir

Svetlana Ovsyanikova

Gennady Laptev

Jim T. Smith


© 2018 American Chemical Society. Aquatic organisms at Chernobyl have now been chronically exposed to environmental radiation for three decades. The biological effects of acute exposure to radiation are relatively well documented, but much less is known about the long-term effects of chronic exposure of organisms in their natural environment. Highly exposed fish in freshwater systems at Chernobyl showed morphological changes in their reproductive system in the years after the accident. However, the relatively limited scope of past studies did not allow robust conclusions to be drawn. Moreover, the level of the radiation dose at which significant effects on wildlife occur is still under debate. In the most comprehensive evaluation of the effects of chronic radiation on wild fish populations to date, the present study measures specific activities of 137Cs, 90Sr, and transuranium elements (238Pu, 239,240Pu, and 241Am), index conditions, distribution and size of oocytes, as well as environmental and biological confounding factors in two fish species perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach (Rutilus rutilus) from seven lakes. In addition, relative species abundance was examined. The results showed that both fish species are, perhaps surprisingly, in good general physiological and reproductive health. Perch, however, appeared to be more sensitive to radiation than roach: in the most contaminated lakes, a delay of the maturation of the gonads and the presence of several undeveloped phenotypes were evident only for perch and not for roach.


Lerebours, A., Gudkov, D., Nagorskaya, L., Kaglyan, A., Rizewski, V., Leshchenko, A., …Smith, J. T. (2018). Impact of environmental radiation on the health and reproductive status of fish from Chernobyl. Environmental Science and Technology, 52(16), 9442-9450.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 20, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2018
Publication Date Aug 21, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 21, 2019
Journal Environmental Science and Technology
Print ISSN 0013-936X
Electronic ISSN 1520-5851
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 16
Pages 9442-9450
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Environmental Science & Technology, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see


You might also like

Downloadable Citations