Cesium levels recorded recently by the Japanese government show some very startling numbers. Up to 250km away from Fukushima Daiichi, parts of Gunma Prefecture have high enough cesium 137 contamination that they exceed the evacuation zone levels used at Chernobyl. Officials said the area of higher contamination was along mountainsides.
The highest levels in Gunma were 300,000 becquerels per square meter. The evacuation level at Chernobyl was 37,000 becquerels. This adds another large complexity to the evacuations and clean up efforts. As the government and citizens discover where the radiation has actually concentrated a large uneven pattern of contamination has evolved. The fallout maps of Japan are beginning to look like the ones at Chernobyl. This development highlights the risk of having nuclear power plants in small geographic areas with dense populations.
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