Radiation killing more female than male embryos

Gorleben soll leben

Radiation from German nuclear dumps is killing more female than male human embryos, a scientific researcher reports. Ralf Kusmierz, one of several authors of a study for the Helmholtz Zentrum München, a government research institution, says they have found “significantly fewer” girls than boys being born in the vicinity of Gorleben, where nuclear waste is stored in a light-construction hall, and near the flooding underground Asse dump near Salzgitter. “The gender relationship at birth is naturally determined,” Kusmierz explained on a television programme, “there are slightly more boys than girls.”


“In Lüchow-Dannenberg County [Gorleben] up to 1995 the relationship was 102 boys to 100 girls, slightly under the national average. Since 1996 the relationship [male majority] has been rising constantly.

“It is worrying because we have found an increased relationship in the vicinity of nuclear power stations. That is highly likely to be due to radioactive emissions.”


Kusmierz noted that the male births majority also leaped up after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, in direct proportion to the radioactive contamination.

“The closer one is to Ukraine, the bigger the increase.”

Hence it was highly likely that radiation kills more female embryos and that more boys are born alive. “So it’s not a case of more boys, but a case of fewer girls.”

Kusmierz doesn’t think it’s a coincidence and puts the likelihood of mistakes in the study at under five percent.

Already last year he found that in the community of Remlingen surrounding the Asse dump, the most contaminated legacy of Germany’s nuclear power industry, the proportion of boys born was also extremely skewed.


Because emissions of radioactive gases are known there, the cause was recognisable, he argues. But in Gorleben he had no clear indications.

“It’s mysterious. I inquired at the environment ministry in Hanover [responsible for Gorleben] and was told, ‘There are no emissions from these [CASTOR] containers.’ So it means, we actually know no cause.”

Kusmierz demands that legislators investigate the phenomenon further.


The Lower Saxony state government says it does not rule out further radiation measurements. A spokeswoman said radiation could lead to fewer girls being born. But she could say no more yet about the study because only excerpts of it were available so far.

“The numbers are extremely worrying,” said the environment spokesman of The Left group in the Lower Saxony parliament, Kurt Herzog. The right-of-centre government needed to act speedily.


“I demand that the smallscale monitoring be started immediately that social minister Aygül Özkan announced because of the cancer cases in the Asse.“

It emerged recently that in the vicinity of Asse double the national average of leukemia cases and triple the national average of thyroind cancers were counted. A working group is trying to find out the reasons for the increased cancer rate.