The Magnitude Of Fukushima Begins To Be Understood

It was learned earlier this week that the air releases at Fukushima Daiichi were about double the original estimate of the Japanese government. The air estimates are about 42% of the releases at Chernobyl (these are cesium 137 only). The air estimate is 35,800 terabecquerels.  This is only the air releases compared against total cesium releases at Chernobyl. Then there are the sea releases at Fukushima.

The sea releases are estimated at  27.1 petabecquerels or 27100 terabecquerels of cesium 137 by the French nuclear authority IRSN. They state that 82% of this sea release was done before April 8 as workers scrambled to cool the damaged reactors. These estimated amounts do not include any cesium 137 contained in water tanks, building basements or that is sunk into the ground. The total of the sea and air release estimates is 62900, leaving a 22338 terabecquerel difference between Fukushima and Chernobyl. Fukushima is still releasing radiation into the atmosphere on a daily basis though the amount being released has gone down.

35,800 Fukushima cesium air release terabecquerels

85238 Chernobyl cesium air release terabecquerels

27100 terabecquerels cesium sea release

Fukushima sea and air combined
62900 terabecquerels * these total combined releases are about 74% of Chernobyl

METI announced a 30 year estimate to decommission the plant.  This includes decontamination, removal of spent fuel from pools and removal of the melted fuel from the reactor buildings, or wherever it is currently residing.

This new map by Yukio Hayakawa at Gunma university shows the scope of the radiation dispersal in Japan. NHK has also released a map of current radiation levels at a series of locations in Japan, this map updates with new readings. Meanwhile the city of Kashiwa struggles with the recently found hot spot. The local government says they don’t have the proper staff or resources to deal with contamination of that high of a level.

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