Thirty-three years ago, an accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released huge amounts of radioactive materials
like cesium, strontium and plutonium into the atmosphere, which spread over a vast area. It is known that its effects can
cause damage do the DNA of living beings, leading to death or altered fitness of the biota, but the effects of land
abandonment under such conditions are not, as the vicinities of the power plant were permanently evacuated. Thus, the
objective of this study was to analyze the state of primary production of the vegetation in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
after the accident, comparing with its previous state. Through Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and
radiation measurements, the relationship between these variables was assessed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
and Generalized Additive Models (GAM), to understand how the vegetation responded to the radiation exposure. The
data considered was Landsat satellite imagery and sampled areas registered on the field. The results show that the NDVI
increased over the years after the accident and that it is independent of the current radiation measured. This suggests that
to some level of radiation exposure, the positive effects of land abandonment and/or the negative effects of radiation on
abundance of herbivore species surpass the long term negative effects of radiation exposure on the vegetation.
Nonetheless, above some radiation threshold level, primary production is expected to be negatively affected.