Despite the fact that the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents have both stimulated research on the environmental impact of radiation, interpretations about the occurrence of ecological effects in the contaminated areas still do not converge. In an effort to improve the situation and progress toward better general scientific understanding of ecological impacts of radiation, reasons that may explain the disagreements and discrepancies are explored. The divergence in interpretations of the impacts from both nuclear accidents arises from differences in methodological and conceptual inference strategies (a cultural issue) more so than fundamental differences in the processes governing ecological harm. Improved integration of scientific communities that use different study approaches should be encouraged to better understand and monitor the determination of the ecological impacts of radiation. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:673-676. © 2016 SETAC.