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Rabbit born near Fukushima raises new radiation fears
Fukushima, Jun 11 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Jun. 2011 11:08 PM IST
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Fresh fears over a nuclear leak at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima plant have re-ignited after a rabbit born close to the facility was discovered with no ears. Locals have been left wondering whether this earless bunny, which was reportedly found near the facility at the end of last month, is the first sign of side effects from the nuclear catastrophe.
The Fukushima plant suffered catastrophic damage when a tsunami, triggered by an earthquake, swept through the facility in March, destroying reactors.
Following a blast at the plant that caused the initial leaks, Japanese officials warned people living near Fukushima to stay indoors, turn off their air conditioning and stop drinking tap water.
Since then, experts have been nervously watching radiation levels in the area around the plant to determine the extent of the leak.
Earlier this week it was revealed the Japanese government has more than doubled the estimate for the amount of radiation released by the plant.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency - a government watchdog - also said during a briefing in Tokyo that it is now believed that reactor cores in some of the units at the plant melted more quickly than previously thought.
A video of the bunny was posted on YouTube and has quickly spread as an internet viral, labelled the ‘nuclear rabbit’. However according to the website NY Daily News, experts are sceptical as to whether radiation could be responsible for the bunny’s lack of ears.
While high doses of radiation can cause cancer and other major health problems, radiation experts believe the likelihood of the rabbit’s strange features being a result of nuclear mutation is very slim.
In 2008, a healthy rabbit was born without ears in the UK, aptly-named Van Gogh. While it is a rare occurrence, the deformity can happen because of a genetic defect or through the mother biting off the ears is she is distressed.

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