TTU professor studying Chernobyl after effects - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TTU professor studying Chernobyl after effects

Dr. Ron Chesser at Chernobyl (Source: TTU) Dr. Ron Chesser at Chernobyl (Source: TTU)
Dr. Ron Chesser (Source: KCBD Interview) Dr. Ron Chesser (Source: KCBD Interview)
Source: KCBD Video Source: KCBD Video
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Tuesday marks 30 years since the Chernobyl disaster.

It remains the world's worst nuclear disaster, as it covered huge areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia with a radioactive cloud.

It happened on April 26, 1986, killing more than 30 people and affecting thousands.

Texas Tech professors are still measuring the after-effects in animals from that area. Many of those animals are housed at the Natural Science Research Laboratory at Texas Tech.

They are constantly tested to see just how the radiation they were exposed to has affected them.

Dr. Ron Chesser, chair of Texas Tech's Department of Biological Sciences, was the first American scientist allowed into the exclusion zone at the explosion site in 1992.

Since then, he says he's made over 70 research trips to Chernobyl.

"When you start going through village after village that has been abandoned - it looks like people could still live there, but it's overgrown. Houses and buildings are starting to decay," he says. "It's surreal, and it touches you emotionally."

Chesser says it was difficult seeing over 135,000 left homeless by the explosion, but he hopes his research can help people.

"We started working with fish, but then migrated over to work with mammals, because they're so intimate with environment that they pick up all of this radioactivity," Chesser explains.

Testing both weasels and mice, he says they measure the radiation amounts they were exposed to and look to see if any genetic mutations have occurred.

"This collection is a repository of specimens that have been collected after the explosion in highly contaminated areas that will allow scientists, not only now, but in the future, as techniques are sort of developing, to try to make inferences on how the radiation may have affected these animals in very subtle ways," he says.

It's been 30 years, but Chesser and his colleagues say their research is ongoing and they have no specific end date in mind.

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • Congress moves to dismantle key post-crisis bank rules

    Congress moves to dismantle key post-crisis bank rules

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:33 PM EDT2018-05-22 16:33:04 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:43 PM EDT2018-05-22 23:43:30 GMT
    Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis. (Source: CNN)Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis. (Source: CNN)
    Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis. (Source: CNN)Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis. (Source: CNN)

    Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis that brought millions of lost jobs and foreclosed homes. The House was to approve...

    Congress is moving to dismantle a chunk of the rules framework for banks to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis that brought millions of lost jobs and foreclosed homes. The House was to approve legislation to roll back the Dodd-Frank law.

  • The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

    The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:13 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:13:57 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:34 PM EDT2018-05-22 23:34:31 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. In emails obtained by The Associated Press, George Nader claims...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. In emails obtained by The Associated Press, George Nader claims...

    A top Trump fundraiser and a senior adviser to a UAE crown prince ran a secretive campaign, trading lobbying against Qatar for defense contracts from Gulf countries.

    A top Trump fundraiser and a senior adviser to a UAE crown prince ran a secretive campaign, trading lobbying against Qatar for defense contracts from Gulf countries.

  • Trump won't say if he has confidence in Rosenstein

    Trump won't say if he has confidence in Rosenstein

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:12 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:12:21 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:34 PM EDT2018-05-22 23:34:15 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington. Trump said he will "demand" that the Justice Department open ...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington. Trump said he will "demand" that the Justice Department open ...

    The agreement came after President Donald Trump made an extraordinary demand that the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign.

    The agreement came after President Donald Trump made an extraordinary demand that the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign.

Powered by Frankly